Monday, March 5, 2012

I never heard that before...

What was that?  Listen...there it is...that subtle nuance in that passage...there it is again...WOW! I never noticed that before!

Sound familiar (pun intended)? If you could read minds, this is what you would hear inside the mind of an audiophile when auditioning a new piece of gear. All audiophiles have some sort of sonic memory with which they subjectively compare A to B. Most will admit that they cannot listen to A and then drive across town and listen to B, and make a valid comparison.. Unreliable and completely unscientific, these personal preferences and biases surface every day in all walks of every person's life.

What is your favorite color? Where do you like to go to relax? We already know what one of the things you like to do for fun is, but what is another? Why we do these things is the same reason why we all do not own the same pair of speakers, drive the same color car, and dress in the same clothes. We are all different and we all like to listen to something and not something else.

My wife prefers a lot of bass (atypical for females) and I do not (atypical for males). My friend prefers the crisp sound of well-defined percussion and my other the sound of brass instruments. To another friend, a good movie theater provides everything he seeks in audio nirvana, and so do you. Take a moment and think about what it is that you like about a high-end system.

I am sure that you have gone to a friend's home or to a movie theater and said, "I don't like the way that sounds!" I've even put ear plugs in at one theater I was pressured into attending, but soon abandoned that torture. There is some instrument or group of instruments that you like. What is it?

Yesterday, I heard a woman sing that quickly turned heads of everyone in the room regardless of what was going on. Her voice and intensity, her interpretation and vocal control were - in a word - angelic. There are times when you will be so moved by sound that it brings feelings to you that say, "This is REALLY good!" So what is that? What is it that stirs those feelings of  enjoyment? Why does one person sonically melt over Eddie Van Halen and another over Earl Scruggs? Could it be that there is more to sound that just the notes?

One of my favorite lines in any movie I ever heard was in Amadeus where Emperor Joseph II said to Mozart under Salieri'surging, "…there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect." to which Mozart replied, "Which few did you have in mind, Majesty?" Peer pressure and a desire to find something "wrong" with a performance or to somehow feel superior to someone else clouds the listener from appreciating the musical interpretation. You do the same thing even though you may not realize it.

You bring to every performance your personal biases based on what you do and do not like. Everything about a performance plays into this impression: color, smell, size, mood, and most of all who you are with. Peer pressure can transform a totally outstanding experience into one of mediocrity or even disgust.

My advice is this: find out who you are and what you like, and do not listen to others. Someone probably told you as you were growing up that the best thing you can do in life is to "follow your heart." They were right! Do what you like best for the right reasons and your listening experience will be fuller. Focus on what you like rather than what you do not and the experience will be more complete. Who knows, maybe a similar angelic experience is waiting for you just around the corner? All you have to do is to truly listen...

Yours for higher fidelity,
Philip Rastocny

I do not use ads in this blog to help support my efforts. If you like what you are reading, please remember to reciprocate, My newest title is called Where, oh Where did the Star of Bethlehem Go? It’s an astronomer’s look at what this celestial object may have been, who the "Wise Men" were, and where they came from. Written in an investigative journalism style, it targets one star that has never been considered before and builds a solid case for its candidacy.

My other titles include:

No comments:

Post a Comment

To comment on this blog, you must first be a member. All comments are moderated.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.