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 Elliott Sound Products A Beginners Guide to Audio Bulletin Boards

A Beginners Guide to Audio Bulletin Boards (Forum Sites)

© 2001, Contributed by Geoff Moss
(de facto editor of the Audio Pages)

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A useful source of information for those starting out in audio electronics is the Audio Bulletin Board or Forum.  There are a number of these on the Web where you can exchange views with and seek help from other people with similar interests and possibly greater experience.  However, before venturing forth into a forum, it helps to know the customary procedures and protocol.

The following notes will give you a basic understanding of what to expect and how to behave when visiting these sites.

Though I have referred to amplifiers in the above notes, the comments equally relate to all other items in the audio chain.

On a more serious note:  I started out by suggesting that an Audio Bulletin Board or Forum is a "useful" source of information for the beginner. This is not necessarily the case.

There is a lot of incorrect information being expounded in these fora (forums) by people who do not know what they are talking about (though I am sure that they genuinely believe what they are saying).  All information obtained from these questionable sources should be treated with caution and thoroughly checked against an authoritative source before being used in a project.  Either that, or restrict your reading and research to reliable sources such as the ESP Audio Pages.

No-one gets out of here alive ... (well, maybe not that bad, but I have to add my piece).  From Rod ...

The above is intended as humour, and I hope that readers will see the funny side to Geoff's comments.  When next you visit one of the various bulletin boards, read a little more closely than usual, and you will see that a great many respondents follow these instructions to the letter!

Humour aside, the topic has a serious side.  Geoff added in an e-mail ...
"I had two serious intentions, one to warn the uninitiated against believing everything they read on the Web and the other to try to shame the correspondents into better behaviour (probably a waste of time as this is likely to prove impossible).  It is a pity that all fora seem to degenerate to the same abysmal level.  A good one could be both interesting and informative and of great benefit to the DIY community."

There is a vast amount of 'disinformation' offered by the chronic bulletin board addicts - in some cases this is simply because the respondent(s) don't know enough to know when not to say anything, and in other cases it is because they have their own (usually hidden) agenda.  For example, one can find posts from "high end" cable dealers who will blithely say that anyone who can't tell the difference between 'cords' (or 'chords' (sic)) has tin ears, but do they say anywhere in their posts that they make a living from reeling in the suckers?  Noooooo.

The list of charlatans is endless and depressing, and the poor audiophiles lap it up as if it were nectar from the Gods.

Every so often I visit some of the 'boards, these days mainly to see what they are saying about my site and its contents.  There was the great 'flame out' of '99, and I think that came close to the record for the longest thread - all over mains leads!  During the entire thread, barely a civil word was uttered, as the respondents became more and more determined to have it go their way.  This (of course) never happened, and eventually everyone gave up in disgust.

Heaven help anyone who disagrees with one of the self appointed BB experts, for surely will the wrath of the (anonymous) snake oil dealer descend upon s/he who dares to offer a word of dissent.  If you even try to be sensible or factual, you are dead meat, mate, since everyone there knows that to detect by ear is divine, but to measure is heresy  - punishable by death, defenestration and/or disembowelment (but not necessarily in that order) if they had their way.


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Copyright Notice. This article was written by Geoff Moss (with parts added by Rod Elliott) and is Copyright © 2001, all rights reserved.  Reproduction, storage or republication by any means whatsoever whether electronic, mechanical, or any combination thereof is strictly prohibited either in whole or in part without the express written permission of the author, with the sole exception that readers may print a copy of the article for personal use.
Article created 08 Apr 2001