Assembled or made in Portugal.

I really love Portugal, after all I was born and raised here so that nostalgic patriotic feeling did rub on me, especially from my father who was in the military during the 70′s. So I’m biased when I say, most stuff made in Portugal is of good quality.
The list is not amazing but if you want cork or leather goods, wines, hats, clothes and some typical rugs, my country excels in those areas. We had some pretty amazing heavy industry but due to economic changes around the world and in Europe they all sunk (pun intended…some will get it)

These days Portugal is mainly a services country so it’s normal that many companies around the world use our small factories to assemble things, because Portugal it’s one of the cheapest places to do so in Europe and also because the work force is often very professional about their duty, taking pride in what they assemble. Companies like Camel Active, Leica, gun makers, shoe makers, bag and even car companies assemble things around here and they also often take pride in their Portuguese factories and work force, something you can’t do with sweat shops in Asia for example.

Assembled in Portugal often means parts come from very low wage factories in Asia, sadly some Portuguese companies are now using the “Made in Portugal” stamp to promote shitty electronics made in China but assembled and packaged in Portugal, and when I say assembled it’s more like OS configured and that’s about it. I’m strongly against this practice because such products are not made or assembled in Portugal, they are not even designed in Portugal! The are re-packaged in Portugal and I think this practice should be strongly regulated by the European and Portuguese law.

So next time you buy electronics “Made in Portugal” you might need to check if the parts don’t come from a very low wage countries made by under skilled workers.

A little side note about China and other low wage countries, like I said in the past, their work force is really necessary but I’m against underpaid workers and sweat shops. Some pretty amazing stuff is made in China and they have amazing engineers. People should be paid for their work doesn’t matter if they are Portuguese or Chinese a fair wage is necessary.

Audiophile objectivity & online harassment.

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Illustration By John Bauer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I’m usually all in favor of scientific testing made by professionals and will often joke about subjective testing of gear and interconnects, I’m known for using the bullshit word very often when writing about audiophile cables, but I don’t attack reviewers personally via the comment section of forums or blogs because I think its a rude behavior, we are guests in their home thus we should behave like guests.
In fact one of the reasons I created this space was to rant about audiophile bullshit without the need to pollute forums or comment areas.
I didn’t create this blog to attack reviewers, magazines or brands.
If my memory doesn’t fail me I never wrote about any cable brand mostly because I’m legally accountable for my writing and will not risk a lawsuit.
Plus writing about audiophile cable brands would be free adverting and I don’t work for free unless I really love a brand. 

Ok, sometimes I can lose my temper and resort to strong name calling if people are being rude just because they feel untouchable online.
Objectivists have a natural way of being assholes in comment sections mostly because they think science can shield them from everything. I often bash those so called objectivists because I really hate arrogant people online.
These type of trolls make objectivists look bad and highly intolerant.

I might not tolerate BS marketing but I still enjoy some subjective reviewers online and in magazines, there is space for everyone and if you trust a reviewer you should have fun.
For example I really enjoy Tyll Hertsens and Bob Katz from innerfidelity.com, in fact I consider Tyll the best reviewer in active. He tries to balance subjective and objective reviews and I enjoy that a lot.
So when someone went after him because he accepted some audiophile cables on loan that were necessary for a future mega review I got upset and lost my temper online, a rare thing.
The same user also complained about his sighted tests and complained about the use of some gear he will use to clean his AC.
In my opinion Tyll is free to do what he wants because its his site and his reputation.

When I want to troll I use my own house, its wrong to troll when you are a guest.

I suspect some of these users are young teenagers that have the need make a stand against older people. My piece of advice to them is to go get laid.
Does wonders to the stress and is really fun specially with good music.
Ok, now I’m just trolling….

Audiophiles and the need to be.

Everyone knows I have a bit of a feud against audio cables and other so called tweaks in the subjective audiophile world, my hate for audio bullshit became so great I almost crossed the troll bridge to the dark side. I’m glad my self censoring works well and I refrained from making personal attacks to the cult believers of high-end cables, paper heights, power strips, cable stands, audiophile software, SDD vs HDD tone differences and all the other stuff the typical audiophile stereotype enjoys so very much.

These days I just dismiss any review about the huge difference a 500€ audio cable made on the soundstage of 200€ headphones, only cult hardcore subjective audiophiles use 500€ cables on entry level headphones and notice improvement without proper testing or any proof to support those claims.
When objectivists ask for blind tests and proper testing, those reviewers will evade by saying they don’t work well under the pressure of a blind test or they don’t have the skill or tech to test the stuff objectively.
This kind of reviewers in my opinion are a bit lazy because people who really enjoy the hobby will go at great lengths to improve their knowledge so yea those excuses don’t look very valid from my point of view. I think most subjective reviewers are afraid tests will show those tweaks don’t do a thing, thus making their reviews one big naive* lie. (Naive for the ones who actually believe they actually hear differences, some out there are more interested in pleasing their sponsors, those are charlatans in my book)  

I read somewhere that objectivists (They call us haters) should mind their own business because its not their money and its all about envy.
Now I don’t mind people paying huge sums of money for so called high-end tweaks, it’s really good for the economy after all! Workers need to get paid in the end of the month and anyone who spends 500€ on a audio tweak without proper testing deserves to part from their money.
What annoys me a lot is the fact those audiophiles raise the price of anything audiophile related. Note that anything with the stamp “audiophile quality” equals over inflated prices the audiophile stereotype will pay or crave for.
This problem is so nasty, even Sony is making audiophile SD cards, the motto “if you built it, they will come spend” is alive and quite well on the subjective members of the cult hobby!         

Another thing I find dangerous is “the need to be” of some audiophiles from both sides of the fence. Passionate claims like “I’m now a audiophile because I use these cables, or have high-end stuff, or because I own all of this stuff so this makes me an audiophile”. These kind of claims show a sad side to this hobby, some might see it as a passion but that’s not my opinion. 
I don’t see the need to be in other hobbies, sure people are proud when they buy new tools or improve their workspace but they are already on the hobby, OK maybe they are newbies but they don’t have that need to be approved by peers or family like I so often see on online communities about the audiophile hobby. 
If you put model makers on the same room they will discuss technics and other fun trivia, put audiophiles on the same room and the system is not harm enough, the stylus needs cleaning, the sweet spot is off, and other bullshit.
Maybe this is THE problem with this hobby, it’s about hearing music using gear. Most audiophiles don’t know how to build gear unlike models makers and most don’t want to leave their comfort zone to understand the gear they buy, believing any pseudo-science dealers and factories claim.

This hobby is about music, anyone how enjoys music more or less like the mastering engineer intended is a audiophile, doesn’t matter if you have 15000€ cables or 50€ headphones from a second hand deal. 
Now I will understand if you prefer being called a audio enthusiast, audiophiles are a bit too complicated aren’t they?

I do know subjectivists that enjoy cables and tweaks but they don’t have “the need to be”, they are nice to newbies and understand why “haters” need solid evidence about tweaks. Those I respect even if they raise the price tag for audiophile products…