A small thought on music and sound quality.

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Its random audio thoughts over morning coffee time!

My wife and I were painting a room the other day in an apartment where the stereo wasn't hooked up yet. We listened to a newly released album on spotify, played on my ipad.

I got several of the songs stuck in my head. Hummed them all day. Enjoyed the whole experience.

Last night I got home to my main system and played the same album. It sounded, of course, dramatically better. I noticed many layers of production and a degree of nuance that was, of course, lost on the ipad. I got several of the song stuck in my head again, hummed them all evening, enjoyed the whole experience.

There was a time in my life where I didn't have the main setup and didn't care about sound quality. And there was a time in my life where I was so obsessed with the main setup, that I wouldn't have listened to a new album on an ipad.

I think I finally have returned to a healthy level of involvement with my stereo :). I don't need it, but also don't care to be without it.
 
Understand your evolution and the concept of different horses for different courses.

I love Classic Rock in the car. I can bump up the lower mid-range and get the beat going strong.

Also enjoy blutooth outside and the vintage tube amp in the garage with certain music. Fun stuff and less obsessing over one definitive system.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I was never one of those people who would only listen to audiophile recordings on a top flight setup, though I know a few of those. Still, I've probably spent more time listening to music lately on 'bad' setups than good ones. Part of that, also, is an admitted burnout on all things audiophile/audio-hobby.
 

opa1

Moderator
Staff member
This is the same thing I've been thinking about. I send most of my listening time where the music is just in the background. I do like decent SQ but, not that critical. I really seem to enjoy it more this way.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
These days I listen mostly in my car. For the first time in my life I have a really nice car stereo, and I wish I'd have invested more into this world in the past.

On that topic:

A bit over a week ago I was driving across Michigan in a rented van, listening to NPR. A crazy electrical storm broke out along the western side of Lake Michigan, where I was driving. Huge bolts of lightning were shooting horizontally across the sky, making no sound for some reason, but lighting it up like daytime, over and over, every 10 seconds or so. So I switched from NPR to music that was more like my younger club going days, and had the most awe-inspiring, weird-club, light show/concert I've ever been to, sitting there in a rented Dodge Grand Caravan full of art deco furniture heading down I-94 in a storm. One of my favorite musical memories in the past decade.
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
These days I listen mostly in my car. For the first time in my life I have a really nice car stereo, and I wish I'd have invested more into this world in the past.

On that topic:

A bit over a week ago I was driving across Michigan in a rented van, listening to NPR. A crazy electrical storm broke out along the western side of Lake Michigan, where I was driving. Huge bolts of lightning were shooting horizontally across the sky, making no sound for some reason, but lighting it up like daytime, over and over, every 10 seconds or so. So I switched from NPR to music that was more like my younger club going days, and had the most awe-inspiring, weird-club, light show/concert I've ever been to, sitting there in a rented Dodge Grand Caravan full of art deco furniture heading down I-94 in a storm. One of my favorite musical memories in the past decade.
I hope you had glow-sticks with you. :D
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
My switch to the powered Meadowlarks changed my entire audio view too. Now that the move is on hand, I'm down to my Node and a pair of speakers. It sounds fantastic, and yet it's also a zero stress, zero effort audio system. It's done hardcore listening and background music in the past week, both equally well. Literally, the music gets turned off as I walk out the door.

Car listening? That's great too. I use tidal, and my 1000 watt, 300 speaker B&O system. And it sounds lovely. Though I must admit, my in car musical choices are quite different then what I listen to at home.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
My switch to the powered Meadowlarks changed my entire audio view too. Now that the move is on hand, I'm down to my Node and a pair of speakers. It sounds fantastic, and yet it's also a zero stress, zero effort audio system. It's done hardcore listening and background music in the past week, both equally well. Literally, the music gets turned off as I walk out the door.

Car listening? That's great too. I use tidal, and my 1000 watt, 300 speaker B&O system. And it sounds lovely. Though I must admit, my in car musical choices are quite different then what I listen to at home.
I still very much prefer my main system but lately I've been not caring as much. Which has been an ongoing theme but its much farther along these days.

Honestly, there were a few musical choices I've made recently that my past-self from 20 years ago had to confront current-me with and say "Stop this nonsense, you're just listening to this drivel because its recorded well". Like that moment in Bridge on the River Kwai when Alec Guinness mutters "What've I done?"
 
That sounds like a fun drive! Sometimes NPR has some really cool music on. Around here NPR on Saturday nights has good beats/tunes, I also enjoy the world music programs. You are in as I like to say "just listen to the music play" listening mode (the other listening mode is "gear" mode, not nearly as enjoyable: numbers, spend money/time, latest greatest, questioning if it really sounds better or maybe you are imagining things, cablesshmables, tweeks, eeeking out another 0.14% in performance, blahblahblah). Great place to be, actually the best place to be IMHO though I do enjoy the gear aspect of our hobby as well. I listen to plenty of BPC and still enjoy the music even if it doesn't sound as good as my best setup. My main system is about to be mostly new (I'll probably use a NAD 1600 preamp I own since it sounds very good and has the "Bass EQ" button that bumps up the low bass "just right" and the remote of my NAD 326 will control the volume of the 1600) and it will be noticeably better than my current best combination of gear. Will I still enjoy BPC after this "next next level" setup? Hopefully.🤞🤞
 

TimF

Junior Member
I can certainly enjoy music coming from a simple boom box, or the stereo in my truck. I have been away on vacation for the last week or so, and music had been played as above, or via my friends iPhone. Tonight I finally had time to myself to actually listen to some music on my home system, and for sure, putting on Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection album, Come Down in Time track, made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, that goosebumps moment for sure. There just isn’t anything quite like what my system does for me. I have to admit though, a few factors come in to play here, mood, and desire to listen to music, not just as background. Regardless, music still fills my soul with goodness usually, no matter what it is played on!
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I'm not saying that my main setup doesn't sound vastly better. Its also more enjoyable on the whole. I'm just musing that I've, lately, had a lot of fun enjoying music in other settings, and mostly that's been a matter of me not caring where I listen, and the circumstances of me being in other places from where my system is. I don't -need- the fancy stereo to enjoy music. I rather like having it, but I'm quite comfortable listening without it if need be.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I also have to give some accolades to my wife for basically forcing me to give Spotify a chance, despite my repeatedly made point that Tidal sounds better (and it really does). More than anything music-related in this last year, I've enjoyed Spotify the most. Not because it sounds good, but because its algorithm is so finely attuned to my tastes that its become a bit uncanny how good it is at finding new music for me. Tidal's algorithm is terrible in comparison, at least for what I'm looking for.
 

Kpatch

Junior Member
Honestly, there were a few musical choices I've made recently that my past-self from 20 years ago had to confront current-me with and say "Stop this nonsense, you're just listening to this drivel because its recorded well". Like that moment in Bridge on the River Kwai when Alec Guinness mutters "What've I done?"
For me it’s like that scene in Dr. Zhivago where Dr. Zhivago is racing his horse away from his wife (Geraldine Chaplin) on his way to town to see lover (Julie Christie) And his wife yells “But where are you going?” And he replies “To town, to get some rat traps” and his wife replies “But you got those yesterday!” And he replies, “Then I’m going to get some rats!”.

Ok, maybe that didn’t happen but that’s not the point. The point is that the push-pull of analogue vs. digital is still ongoing here and as much as I enjoy listening to the active, I’m still drawn to the passive. And as content as I am with my current active systems, I still hear the come-hither siren song of upgraditis improvements for the passives. So many choices, so little time, but isn’t that what makes this a hobby?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
So many choices, so little time, but isn’t that what makes this a hobby?
It did, for me, for a long time.

I'm very settled now in my setup. I have no desire to upgrade (and couldn't afford to better what I have anyway). Its a good feeling. I never expected, getting into this, what a drug upgrading and feeling the desire to upgrade would be. It honestly has felt like trying to kill an addiction (because it really was that, I guess). That said, my getting out of the constant urge to upgrade was only possible after finally settling on a bunch of gear that I absolutely love. Every single time I listen to my main system, I'm thrilled with it. I don't want to change a thing.
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
Achieving your dream system (not fantasy), has allowed you to check that box off and (now) you can Go back to enjoying music as it was originally intended; In a non serious audiophile setting.
Don't get me wrong, I love my rig and enjoy every second I’m in front of it....but it has had made me more critical of other listening arrangements/opportunities...this is no bueno as it robs one of the opportunity to be in the moment, making/capturing lasting memories.
Just my two cents...
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
It's like I couldn't see the trees while running the race, but now I think they're quite pretty.

Some of my favorite musical moments were situational. That's the downside of only listening to a main setup. The context, surroundings... they can add a lot. I miss my days listening to my old ipod on the lakeshore bus to work in Chicago. Everyday was a new music video.
 
It's like I couldn't see the trees while running the race, but now I think they're quite pretty.

Some of my favorite musical moments were situational. That's the downside of only listening to a main setup. The context, surroundings... they can add a lot. I miss my days listening to my old ipod on the lakeshore bus to work in Chicago. Everyday was a new music video.
I couldn't agree more.

Lots of playlist(and systems) with different titles:

Music by the grill
Music to walk the dog
Music by the campfire
Garage piddling music
Music for the long journey
Music on the deck with wine and wife
Taking the kids to school tunes
... and on and on
 
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