critical listening?

  • Thread starter keeper of the quays
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K

keeper of the quays

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Is this why hifi enthusiasts are always looking to upgrade? Can we really help it? When i was young i listened to music..simple.
Now? Everything i listen to i hear with a critical ear and im wondering whether all the paraphenalia of hifi is worth it? If its robbing me of the simple pleasure of listening?
 
keeper of the quays said:
Is this why hifi enthusiasts are always looking to upgrade? Can we really help it? When i was young i listened to music..simple. Now? Everything i listen to i hear with a critical ear and im wondering whether all the paraphenalia of hifi is worth it? If its robbing me of the simple pleasure of listening?
Try listening with your other non-critical ear. :)
 
K

keeper of the quays

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Sadly both ears hear in a critical way..im ruined! The harsh mistress hifi...it started as a idle flirtation..now? A attic full of once loved hifi..and im still wondering what to upgrade next! Lol...
 

Native_bon

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Nov 26, 2008
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Up to a point music is enjoyable. Becomes a problem when you feel the need to justify your expensive setup. How much better am I enjoying the music than my old system. Oh I have to listen out for how much better this expensive setup sounds compared to my last cheaper less expensive setup.

Yes it does give me more of the music, but am not enjoying it as much as the less expensive one..

Its all down hill from there on. Then you go back & listen to the less expensive system & find out it actually sounds dull & lifeless or tooooo bright?! Just enjoy the bloody music I say. GET THE PICTURE. *music2*
 
keeper of the quays said:
Sadly both ears hear in a critical way..im ruined! The harsh mistress hifi...it started as a idle flirtation..now? A attic full of once loved hifi..and im still wondering what to upgrade next! Lol...
Oh dear, dear. You've got it bad......... first sell whatever is in the attic.
 

MajorFubar

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Buying old kit is the answer, along with having shallow pockets. Any new kit which substantially betters what I already own is leagues out of any budget I can justify. That harsh reality is a serious oniomania cure.

As for critical listening, when you get to the point where you're no longer listening to the music and are instead treating every album as an assessment, it's time to step back a little :)
 
K

keeper of the quays

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Does anyone really listen and think yep..this is it! Audio nirvana? Isn't this the point of hifi, to get the best reproduction we can? Then none of us can listen with satisfaction? Always a niggling thing..perhaps different cables,speaker stands etc may improve things? It never does..thats the thing im getting at..this must affect what we listen to? I'm not sure re more pricey means better? Better expectation maybe..
 

jjbomber

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Dec 22, 2006
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keeper of the quays said:
Is this why hifi enthusiasts are always looking to upgrade? Can we really help it?
Human Nature. We all want better cars, bigger houses etc. It's all part of the upgrade game that we are all playing. Hi-fi is no different.
 
K

keeper of the quays

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When we listen to music there's a emotional response..cant say I feel very emotional about my van or my igloo! I just wondered whether our striving to get best sound interferes with our response to the music?
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Back in 1998 my house was burgled and some of my hifi was pinched. I lost some Celestion SL600s, a Musical Fidelity power amp, and a Meridian cd preamp. I'd won some of it in a draw!

The insurance settlement, along with some savings, enabled me to buy the core system of Krell and Sonus faber that I still enjoy. I could never have afforded ten grand on a system, so it was fortunate timing.

As well as the sound I'd always dreamed of, it has turned out to be remarkably economical, as all I've paid in ensuing years is about £350 for some updated speaker terminals and a service on the CD player. Sure, I did change turntables, and bought a used streamer, but nothing huge in cost terms.

Feeling I had no prospect if improving it I definitely found myself focussing much more on the music, and less on the equipment. I realise I've been luckier than some, and it does show that if you can possibly finance it, better gear is probably cheaper in the long run.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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Occasionally I need to upgrade the quality of the content from a CD or a download.

Just today I have set about replacing an audio download that sometimes seems to truncate certain words. I have just ordered it in it's original 16 CD box-set format from the USA for $47 including shipping (it's £99 here on Amazon UK).

I'll rip it at 320k AAC VBR when I get it.

A bit OCD (possibly) but I hate it when companies don't care about the quality of their downloads.

Luckily it doesn't happen often.
 

Vladimir

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For argument sake we can caricature this, audiophiles listen to equipment and music lovers listen to music. Music lovers explore new music and audiophiles explore new gear with the same music.

An audiophile is addicted to upgrades and tweaks because it delivers happy endorphins from his hunter-gatherer activity, and that mixes up with the music listening and saturates it as better overal. When the new gear novelty wears off, he looks for another fix, another upgrade. Buy new speakers, new CDP, new TT belt, new wires, new racks, then listen to Dire Straits again and again and again.

Of course not all audiophiles are like this, that is the extreeme oniomaniac version. How can you tell how much music lover is left inside you, look at your spending habbits and new music explorations. Introspect and decide.

If gear made listening to music more enjoyable because of better sound quality, men with expensive hi-fi would enjoy music more than men with cheap earbuds, whic isn't the case. Do not misinterpret enjoying consumerism and shopping with the actual pleasure derived from music alone. No reason why both shouldn't coexist, but I see the OP is worried if one can suffer at the expense of the other. IMO, it does.

Disclaimer: No reverse snobery posturing intended. Just personal thoughts by someones who is into hi-fi since 12 y/o.
 

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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keeper of the quays said:
Does anyone really listen and think yep..this is it! Audio nirvana? Isn't this the point of hifi, to get the best reproduction we can? Then none of us can listen with satisfaction? Always a niggling thing..perhaps different cables,speaker stands etc may improve things?
For me, quite often, no. Debatably, "best possible reproduction" is a vague unachievable target, even though in general we can all recognise the qualatitive difference between a nasty-sounding cheap stereo and a decent-sounding hifi which gets maybe 90% 'perfect'. But when you're hunting down that ellusive final 10%, there isn't a definative solution and mostly it will be down to personal preference. Remember that most music you listen to on records and CDs only exists as the way you hear it inside of the producer's mixing desk, racks of gear and software plugins. What you hear is to some degree all an artificial creation, from the very minute he tweaks the EQ. So there is no definitative goal.

The best thing you can do is buy the best components you can afford which together create a sound you enjoy listening to.
 

CnoEvil

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Vladimir said:
For argument sake we can caricature this, audiophiles listen to equipment and music lovers listen to music. Music lovers explore new music and audiophiles explore new gear with the same music.?

An audiophile is addicted to upgrades and tweaks because it delivers happy endorphins from his hunter-gatherer activity, and that mixes up with the music listening and saturates it as better overal. When the new gear novelty wears off, he looks for another fix, another upgrade. Buy new speakers, new CDP, new TT belt, new wires, new racks, then listen to Dire Straits again and again and again.?

Of course not all audiophiles are like this, that is the extreeme oniomaniac version. How can you tell how much music lover is left inside you, look at your spending habbits and new music explorations. Introspect and decide.

If gear made listening to music more enjoyable because of better sound quality, men with expensive hi-fi would enjoy music more than men with cheap earbuds, whic isn't the case. Do not misinterpret enjoying consumerism and shopping with the actual pleasure derived from music alone. No reason why both shouldn't coexist, but I see the OP is worried if one can suffer at the expense of the other. IMO, it does.

Disclaimer: No reverse snobery posturing intended. Just personal thoughts by someones who is into hi-fi since 12 y/o.
I think there is certainly truth in your view, but IMO it doesn't tell the whole story.

What "some" expensive kit does to the "enjoyability" of music, is very addictive. That said, price doesn't guarantee enjoyment. For example, I would rather have a UR Little Italy and some Audio Note speakers, than some very expensive kit that I've heard.

When my house was pulled apart to deal with dry rot, I used a much lesser system. I didn't enjoy the music anything like as much. The excitement, drive, scale and detail was missing. The end result was that I didn't listen anything like as often.

I have witnessed people who have discovered what a good system can do and they ended up discovering different genres of music, that they had previously ignored.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
I agree with Cno about discovering other genres of music. I've certainly enjoyed a more diverse range since my earlier years.

The other aspect of better gear that has often fascinated me is the better handling of poorer quality material, such as old analogue tape transfers - say, from the early stereo days - or recordings that contained great music but were never brilliantly recorded. An example of the latter for me would be early Simon and Garfunkel, in fact pretty much anything on CBS come to that! I'm to some extent thinking of LP, but also early CD releases. I consider that listening to less than first rate recordings is almost essential if choosing new gear. It seems to sort the men from the boys. Good, modern recordings by contrast can sound pretty good on even quite average kit.
 

Vladimir

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A positive example IMO is our fellow member Electro. From what I gather he explored hi-fi and ended up with a very very nice system that hits all his right spots, and since has stopped obsessing about it and is just enjoying music. No daily upgradeitis, no twiddling, fiddling and fixing room issues with cables and CDPs. Full devotion and obsession is towards music. Yet he still is in the hobby, learns new things, helps out other enthusiasts, has a brand fetish, everything a real audiophile should do.

Another example would be Macspur IMO. There are others too. But there's us that knock our heads against the wall and the devotion towards music is being lost for the sake of shuffling gear. We forget the goal is for the journey to end, doesn't matter if its a house of bricks, of sticks or straw, we need to settle in our own house of music.

P.S. Yes, Russ Andrews is the big bad wolf. He probably uses dry shampoo for his shiny coat.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
I'm another who's hugely contented with my bundles. Sure I recently dem'd LS50s but the current lot is hard to fault.

Xpression TT since 2006, Leema purchased in 2010, PMCs bought 3 years ago. Generally speaking, I'm enjoying the music more than ever. It's about finding a musical niche... that was found with the Pulse. Since then I've built practically a whole system around the Welsh wonder.

More than anything, hi-fi is about managing expectations. As it stands it's a midrange set-up and don't expect it sound like a hi-end system.
 
K

keeper of the quays

Guest
plastic penguin said:
I'm another who's hugely contented with my bundles. Sure I recently dem'd LS50s but the current lot is hard to fault.

Xpression TT since 2006, Leema purchased in 2010, PMCs bought 3 years ago. Generally speaking, I'm enjoying the music more than ever. It's about finding a musical niche... that was found with the Pulse. Since then I've built practically a whole system around the Welsh wonder.

More than anything, hi-fi is about managing expectations. As it stands it's a midrange set-up and don't expect it sound like a hi-end system.
mmmm? Hugely contented? But demo new speakers? This is exactly what I'm on about..mr penguin loves his system..but!!! The niggler..niggled! I wonder what those speakers sound like? I'm the same..i experimented this morning and proved to myself that you don't have to spend a lot to get stellar sound..if the sky's the limit? How far does one go..
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
keeper of the quays said:
plastic penguin said:
I'm another who's hugely contented with my bundles. Sure I recently dem'd LS50s but the current lot is hard to fault.

Xpression TT since 2006, Leema purchased in 2010, PMCs bought 3 years ago. Generally speaking, I'm enjoying the music more than ever. It's about finding a musical niche... that was found with the Pulse. Since then I've built practically a whole system around the Welsh wonder.

More than anything, hi-fi is about managing expectations. As it stands it's a midrange set-up and don't expect it sound like a hi-end system.
mmmm? Hugely contented? But demo new speakers? This is exactly what I'm on about..mr penguin loves his system..but!!! The niggler..niggled! I wonder what those speakers sound like? I'm the same..i experimented this morning and proved to myself that you don't have to spend a lot to get stellar sound..if the sky's the limit? How far does one go..
No "buts". The only reason for demoing the kefs was to see how they stack up against the PMCs in the showroom and my house. My conclusion was the PMCs bettered the Kefs in a larger room but the Kefs were better in my little bungalow when cranked up. As we're moving soonish, if the listening area is a little larger the PMCs stay...
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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plastic penguin said:
keeper of the quays said:
plastic penguin said:
I'm another who's hugely contented with my bundles. Sure I recently dem'd LS50s but the current lot is hard to fault.

Xpression TT since 2006, Leema purchased in 2010, PMCs bought 3 years ago. Generally speaking, I'm enjoying the music more than ever. It's about finding a musical niche... that was found with the Pulse. Since then I've built practically a whole system around the Welsh wonder.

More than anything, hi-fi is about managing expectations. As it stands it's a midrange set-up and don't expect it sound like a hi-end system.
mmmm? Hugely contented? But demo new speakers? This is exactly what I'm on about..mr penguin loves his system..but!!! The niggler..niggled! I wonder what those speakers sound like? I'm the same..i experimented this morning and proved to myself that you don't have to spend a lot to get stellar sound..if the sky's the limit? How far does one go..
No "buts". The only reason for demoing the kefs was to see how they stack up against the PMCs in the showroom and my house. My conclusion was the PMCs bettered the Kefs in a larger room but the Kefs were better in my little bungalow when cranked up. As we're moving soonish, if the listening area is a little larger the PMCs stay...
He is right.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
chebby said:
plastic penguin said:
keeper of the quays said:
plastic penguin said:
I'm another who's hugely contented with my bundles. Sure I recently dem'd LS50s but the current lot is hard to fault.

Xpression TT since 2006, Leema purchased in 2010, PMCs bought 3 years ago. Generally speaking, I'm enjoying the music more than ever. It's about finding a musical niche... that was found with the Pulse. Since then I've built practically a whole system around the Welsh wonder.

More than anything, hi-fi is about managing expectations. As it stands it's a midrange set-up and don't expect it sound like a hi-end system.
mmmm? Hugely contented? But demo new speakers? This is exactly what I'm on about..mr penguin loves his system..but!!! The niggler..niggled! I wonder what those speakers sound like? I'm the same..i experimented this morning and proved to myself that you don't have to spend a lot to get stellar sound..if the sky's the limit? How far does one go..
No "buts". The only reason for demoing the kefs was to see how they stack up against the PMCs in the showroom and my house. My conclusion was the PMCs bettered the Kefs in a larger room but the Kefs were better in my little bungalow when cranked up. As we're moving soonish, if the listening area is a little larger the PMCs stay...
He is right.
But...but...but... *biggrin*
 

bigfish786

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Jan 29, 2013
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I feel very lucky in the fact I am truly 100% satisfied with my system. It hits the spot with vinyl and cd. I don't feel the need to analyse or criticise anything.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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bigfish786 said:
I feel very lucky in the fact I am truly 100% satisfied with my system. It hits the spot with vinyl and cd. I don't feel the need to analyse or criticise anything.?

?

 
Best not to listen to a Moon 700i and some Sopras, then. *diablo*
 

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