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I did not sell my Magies and as I sat and listened in glee as I do daily. I started to think about how much Time I spend listening. I estimated about 20 to 30 hrs a week.
I dont even want to talk about the hours thinking about upgrades or next purchases..
Just wanted to see how this addiction effects others
I'm lucky to get in 3-4 hrs a week, my system is in our "den" which also has our computers in it, so the wife is usually in there telling me to turn it down. :(
I'm new to the forum. I'm working from home right now so I get a reasonable amount of listening time in. My system is on around 35-40 hours a week. About 10-12 hours of that is critical listening.
1. MG1.6QR from 2005
2. Mye stands
3. Two Electrocompaniet AW70 bridged monoblocks (220 watts per side)
4. Electrocompaniet EMC 1 UP CD player
5. Electrocompaniet 4.7 SE preamp (arrives this week to replace Halo)
6. Parasound Halo P3 preamp
7. Parasound Halo T3 tuner
8. Mid '80s AR turntable with Linn Basik LVX arm and Ortophon X5
9. NBS Serpent III shotgun speaker cables and balanced interconnects.
Some may argue that the bridged AW70s might run too hot to be used with the 4 OHM Maggies, but the amps runs only mildly worm at high volumes. In bridged mode thay put out 220 watts per side into 8 ohms and 360 watts into 4 ohms. In stereo mode, these amps are stable to 2 ohms and put out 70 wpc for each amp.
The overall sound of my system is sweet and romantic with a reasonably wide and deep soundstage. I believe most of the limitations with this system are probably due more to room effects than the electronics.
I'm lucky to get in 3 - 4 hours a week. That is, if by "listen" you mean; in the sweet spot, undisturbed, eyes closed and in the 'zone'.
It's a kind of transendental meditation thing for me. I can get totally lost in the music, then I can change focus and 'zone' on how my system sounds, then dive right back into the music. If I'm really deep, I can do both.
I don't consider it to be "listening" to music just because I have my system on. If I'm reading or tinkering or whatever, I'm only hearing music.
Similar thought to what I was thinking about contributing to this thread yesterday.
I actually envy you, because I probably would be lucky to get in 3 to 4 hours a week of the kind of serious listening you described.
Then there are the 10 to 15 hours a week watching movies with the system...but that doesn't count does it?
Ok, it's possibly eight to ten hours in the sweet spot and the rest in the background. I most certainly count background listening as important though as it simply helps me to feel good. Music is good for the soul and I don't believe you have to have the lights down and eyes closed to reap the benefits.
I don't listen nearly as much as some of you. I'm lucky to get in 10 hrs. in a week, but it's usually closer to 5 or 6.
It varies a lot, depending on chores, home projects and mainly mood.
Some days I listen from breakfast till dinner if its quiet and most days from 10:30 am till 3:00 pm.
Definitely an addict here too. I spend an inordinate amount of time reading everything I can get my hands on. Articles, reviews, technical papers, magazines, commentary, etc. And lots of time reading web forums too. There are so many decisions to be made and the more informed I can be the better the outcomes seem to be. And lately I'm finding that I try to audition more gear- especially from people's recommendations in forums like this one. I have a pretty well-developed "shill-sense" so I look for several independant sources of confirmation before I buy. And of course all this is in addition to the 2 to 5 hours of speaker-time I try to get every day. I guess on balance, I average 20-30 hours a week also.
Lately I have been much more active in loaning complete systems out to friends to get them interested in higher-end audio- as I am really concerned with the "iPod mentality" and the effect it has on availability of better gear for all of us. I actually have a "travelling system"- my Quad 57 system- that I can load into my truck in minutes and deliver to a friend's house just to blow their mind, and show them the value and quality of older, "used" gear. I'm considering travelling my ML Aeon/Threshold system to a friend planning a dedicated home theater- with no consideration for being able to simply listening to music. Like what else could there possibly be to do if they turned off the darned TV once in a while!! If I hear of one more friend who just gives up and buys a plastic 7-piece home-theater-in-a-box because they listen to some pimple-faced kid in a big-box retailer, I'll just scream. The articles in TAS and elsewhere lately, showing the decline in overall demand for higher-end audio are actually quite scary. Some people are content to settle with crappy boomboxes, and lossy-compression gadetry, leading to just horrendous sounding equipment that "they" try to pass off as "audiophile". As if adding the word "digital" to something makes it better. As more people settle we all are faced with the results of declining demand and lessening supply for true audiophile equipment.
So I keep up with the state of the art, and the forum commentaries about classic and DIY gear, and spend lots of time listening to different systems, as well as going to listen to as much live music as I can- not only for myself, but also to be able to talk somewhat informedly about hi-fi to get others at least partially as excited about audio systems and the benefits of hearing great-sounding music, as I am. No matter what's happening around me, I always have great-sounding music (and the search for better sound) to take me away for a little while.
I feel your pain TubeHead. The sound quality through modern devices like Ipods do not come close to my main system (MG10's with two sealed subs).
However, these devices do make music much more accessable to people. Both in means of portablity and access to new music that someone may have not been able to get previously. New musicians can now setup their music to be downloaded for free over the internet. Prior music distribution was relatively exclusive in comparison. I think it also makes music exploration for the average listener much easier. Even if the download is not free, it is relatively inexpensive to explore.
I feel that the modern listening devices offer some advantages. I just hope that the sound quality improves. A friend of mine claimed that the mp3 decoder settings could cause huge difference in sound quality. After some listening tests I would tend to aggree. However, even at the "best" settings for encoding for that particular program, I still hear some differences from playing a CD on my main system as compared to playing the Ipod through my main system.
Some day I may have to do some research at the Digital Asylum to find out the latest and greatest for mp3's.
Good Listening to You,
Brendan I agree wholeheartedly with you regarding the benefits of greater availability. That is a great thing for the artists. What I have a hard time accepting is the tangential fallout- the relaxing of standards leading to the slacking demand for new gear, the epidemic of "settling" that seems to be happening more and more these days. Too many seem to just blindly and sheepishly allow the "Body Snatcher" invasion of marketing-driven substitution of what passes for "hifi" these days, with huge swaths of audiophile gear slowly being replaced with rice-grain-sized surface mount chip amps and one-box "home-theater solutions". Digital this and bluetooth that. Feh! Unfortunately all of this takes time- research, education, ear-training, shopping...and wading through the hype- and a measure of dedication to the end result- achieving really engaging and realistic sound reproduction. Time and effort that many seem to be unable or unwilling to invest. Too many people just settling. And altogether too many may never have been exposed to great-sounding gear to know exactly what they are missing!!!
Whatever happened to flea market finds? Ebay and Audiogon are filled to the gills with reasonable and great-sounding affordable gear. How about a Fisher 500C and an old pair of Large Advents? Or a homegrown full-range driver monitor with a flea-power DIY tube amp? $200 for a nice clean, used Thorens and a few dozen "dollar LP's" from the local CD store cutout bin? $100 for a nice used DAC to punch-up a tired CD player? The list goes on endlessly, with completely satisfying sound coming from acres of classic used gear, and (thankfully still) a few current manufacturers with heart and vision, instead of gobs of "platinum-tinted, polycarbonate housing, digital sound reproduction structures" Ugh! I just don't want my freedom to choose curtailed because so many can't be bothered to investigate just what they're truly missing with most of this soul-less gear.
It usually just takes 3 tracks, and few minutes in front of my Quads- Dire Straits "Love Over Gold", Miles' "So What" from "Kind of Blue" and the Dusty Springfield "The Look of Love" track from the "Casino Royale" soundtrack to make a large, lasting impact on what great sound really is. Instead of picking a "cardboard box system" after a 2 minute walk down the Big Box/ Great Buy boombox aisle! If too many settle for the monstrous volume of down-rezzed pablum and plastic marketing, there might not be enough of us left to support the hard work of those producing truly great-sounding gear at a fair price. Thus endeth the rant.
It's quite admirable that you're like an audio super hero, and perhaps more of us should do it.
I have nothing against the I-Pod per se, as an accessory I suppose it is handy, but when IT becomes the system, or the boombox it's plugged into becomes the system, then it is very disturbing. But it's only partially responsible. The recent trend of audio components and their escalating prices is obscene and equally to blame. It used to be in the 80's that 2-3 thousand per component was getting you the good stuff. Then it went to 4-6, then recently 8-10 and now I'd swear they're trying to make it sound like 12-14 is where they'd like it. When the words "value" and "bargain" start getting used for something costing 14 grand, the end has to be in sight.
And sadly you don't have to spend anywhere near that to get great sound. Used maggies for example are an audiophiles dream come true, only a couple hundred bucks for heaven.
In any case, I doubt it will tank completely. Like anything, it may have a dark period, but the faithful will carry on, and eventually people will discover what they threw away and they will come back, and at a more reasonable price point as well.
But we would help ourselves immensly if we did what you do, or more to the point, if manufacturers did what you do. AR used to give public demos in the 60's to show people the difference between good and crap gear. I don't know why it's not done anymore.
Exactly, except you put it much more succinctly. It's almost a mission to bring HiFi to my friends, so that they can enjoy listening to music even more. I get so much enjoyment out of it, and it's one of the few things that never fail me! I do use an iPod, out and about with headphones, but mostly in the car, where the background noise precludes the need for really excellent sound. But at home, I tried to play it through various different equipment and it almost uniformly sounds dithered and weak- and I try to use the higher 192khz bit rate when ripping discs. Through headphones, maybe, but not through Krell and Martin Logan's or Quad's! Although I have noticed that there are now several new pieces of interface/amp gear aimed at iPods that use tube circuitry (surprise) to take the rattle and buzz off the sound. Cute stuff- I'm a sucker for blue LED's- but I doubt they can make up for the essential underlying lack of information in the mp3 stream.
I find that I can buy incredibly sweet-sounding components for under that magic $2-3,000 price ceiling- which you'll notice in my Inmate Systems. And so many people around here mention their extensive experience with equipment and sometimes it does lead to purchases- like my Audible Illusions Mod 3a pre. I tend to buy almost all of my gear used. Thank God for ebay and A-gon! I let others pay down the primary depreciation for me.
The only thing I really haven't done yet is compare my "classic gear" to todays' equivalent stuff. I would love to audition some Pass Lab amps against my older classic Threshold amps. I'd bet the new stuff don't sound 10 times better.
I recall auditioning Threshold amps years (or is that YEARS) ago, and I do own a Pass X-250 now. There are a lot of years in between but I am pretty sure the Pass wins hands down. The Threshold amps I heard were OK, but my Pass is sublime... It would be interesting to compare however.
But like you I got it second hand for under 3, which I consider a bargain for what it is.
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