October 11, 2012

Mongoloids on the loose...

In the manual for Marantz CD player model CD5004, the initial overview of the remote control functions describes volume control buttons as "amplifier operation buttons".  A footnote at the bottom of that page explains this mysterious description to puzzled readers with the following promise:

The supplied remote control can operate Marantz amplifiers.

Six pages later, the reader gets additional details on how to connect the CD player's special remote control output to a Marantz amplifer.  After making this connection and changing the setting of the special switch in the back of the CD player unit from INTERNAL to EXTERNAL, one can use the remote control to operate the said amplifer.

But what about those lost souls who do not wish to use Marantz amplifers?  For them the manual provides the following reassuring note:

To use this unit without connecting it to the amplifier, set the remote control switch to “INTERNAL”.

If you buy this CD player, you will quickly discover that, with the above mentioned switch in the back set to INTERNAL, the remote control indeed operates the CD player - except for the volume control function!  Having reached the state of despair, you will call Marantz customer support and, with your mouth open, will hear a youthful male voice cheerfully informing you that the volume control function works only when the remote control operates Marantz amplifiers!

At that point, you will feel like a guy who married a gorgeous woman after having been told that she can fuck the mailman.  (Well, the guy thought, "can" does not mean "will".  And anyway, even if shit happens, as they say, I'd still get a quickie now and then...)  Alas, after putting on a tuxedo, saying "I do", and kissing the bride, the guy discovered that his newly-minted wife will fuck only the mailman!

And so, once again, you will have confirmed that today's world is a welcoming place for the likes of the imbeciles who designed that CD player, the cretins who approved the design for manufacturing, the retards who wrote the manual, and (most of all) the fucking mongoloids at the so-called high end audio magazine Stereophile, who wrote an enthusiastic review of this player without ever noting that it is all but useless to those who want to connect the CD player directly to a power amplifier.   (I suppose the delusional sociopaths at Stereophile have been too busy comparing the musicality of various power cords and gold-plated wall outlets to pay attention to such mundane facts...)

By the way, if you think that such cognitively disadvantaged specimens will never get a job designing Boeing and Airbus jetliners (and writing manuals for pilots and maintenance mechanics), good luck boarding that plane on your next vacation or business trip....


Anonymous said...

I presume on the setting INTERNAL the remote volume control WILL work - controlling the headphone volume. Did you already try that? If that doesn't work, you're of course definitely right.

Boom said...

Headphones volume is controlled manually by a knob immediately to the right of the headphones jack...

Anonymous said...


elliot Rothenberg said...

Bravo, Bravo, Bravo!

SpiralArray said...

Ha! Right on, Boom. Reminds me right away of my Denon A/V receiver manual, which is one of the most enraging mindfucks you could imagine.

Anonymous said...

I demur.

The electronic attenuator should not reduce the volume output AT the output terminals of the CD player. If one forgets about the previous setting, then one would be tempted to turn UP the volume on the amplifier--increasing the noise level, hum pickup, and any electrical interference that might affect the interconnects.

Electronic (digital) step attenuators could, theoretically, also introduce sampling problems. Only a volume control that is passive, not actually altering the signal in digital form, can avoid making ANY change to the waveform other than its amplitude.

Digital volume controls -- if we MUST have them -- should properly be inserted in such circuitry as designed to alter the overall system volume without introducing distortion, sampling error, or noise.

Adding a series of "volume controls" -- whether they be digital attenuators, resisting step-attenuator ladders, continuing potentiometers, or whatnot -- can (and surely DO) run the risk of having, frequently, a system run with odd gain steps in each stage. I can imagine all kinds of havoc added to the sound, unless the user does everything EXACTLY RIGHT, each time.

I believe that you have overlooked this. Perhaps you are not a designer of audio equipment (as I am.)

With all respect,
S. W. - retired audio engineer, SJ CA

Boom said...


Thank you for the extended comment. I want to note three things:

1. Attenuators need not be designed to operate in the digital stage. Some CD players like PARASOUND ZCD have variable output where the volume is attenuated after the DAC stage in the analog domain.

2. My beef in this post is ultimately with the grotesquely misleading manuals and product information used by so many companies these days. Maranz is only one such case.

3. If your initials stand for "Steve Waldee", I only wish that a fraction of your expertise in audio-related and recording-related matters could be possessed by people currently employed by the classical record labels.