Low Fi Memories vs HiFi Realities.

The experience of fresh music as a child made even the loathsome 8-track sound magical.

There was a long period of time where my stereo accentuated my life, but was far from a focus. I still loved my music, still loved my records and collected them, but my humble stereo system at the time was more than adequate to convey excitement and exuberance of the music I loved.

Introducing high(er) end hifi opened some new possibilities and introduced me to terms we love like micro-detail, soundstage, and many other treats- so I am glad I took the plunge. No regrets!

But there’s no denying that some recordings are covered in warts and boils and just sound repulsive or at least disappointing on a high end system- faults frequently masked by a system that doesn’t put the music under the metaphorical microscope and just conveys the music, even if dulled and glossed over a bit.


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My young aural memory from the late ‘60’s and all of the 70’s tells me the music was GREAT! For the most part the music, people and good times go together. Bad times too I guess. When I play certain records I’ve owned from way back, the music and feelings it evokes are still wonderful (or sad or wistful). Either way the feelings are very strong.

I can’t say as much for the records, a fair amount of compression on many, which I don’t recall being there in my “yute” but there’s a fair number that I’ve just played out and need to spring for a new copy. I went to a LOT of live concerts back then and LOUD with a LOT of bass was the rule. I don’t have the loudspeakers now to do LOUD (read Altec, JBL and Electrovoice) but that’s probably a good thing.
The music was great in those days, done by real musicians, not a computer. It was the music that moved us, not the equipment that delivered it. Back then I had Sansui receiver, Dual 1229 TT and Pioneer CS77a speakers, all from the Navy Exchange. I thought it sounded fine. I attempted to recreate a similar system, but it was not the same. Neither am I.
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Just Call Me Junior
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I've been thinking on this topic for a while, and here's what I come up with in a nutshell:

My dad. He was always about achieving the best stereo he could afford. I had the requisite AM portable RCA/Victor or GE transistor radio in hand and listened to it every chance I got. Eventually I got an 8 track deck for my bedroom, and that was nice. Headphones on in bed when I shoulda been sleeping. Great stuff! Then dad gave me his old Lafayette Stereo 250A, the Gerrard TT, and the pair of homebrew speakers we built when I was a kid. He stepped up his game, and I got the leftovers. Not a bad thing for me!

The first stereo I had in my first pickup truck was an FM reciever from RadioShack playing through Minimus 7s or whatever they sold in 1978. It really sounded great!

The thing is, I don't recall any profound changes in how I listened to music or percieved what I was hearing - it's just been a steady, slow improvement. When I listen to music now that I listened to then, I enjoy it in the same way. Sure the systems I have here to choose from are light years ahead of when I was a kid, but the feelings are unchanged. That's a good thing, and the way I would want the experience to be.

Maybe I'm just overly sentimental, to the point of not noticing? It's always been all about the music.
I'd have to say the album's sound has changed a bit with each iteration of my music system. Some more than others. But my aural memories remain the same no matter how each system plays it. I've learned to just put it away until my next set of speakers/amps. I look forward to a "new" experience no matter how friggin' old I'm getting!
They still give me that same charge I got back when. It was the song or the bonding I had to it at that age of exploration and growing. Hearing it now, it doesn’t matter if it’s pretty meh sq wise. It’s the memories which carry.