It’s the little things
No, this is not an article about an audio gadget or accessory, but rather a short one about the simple pleasures of life involving music/Hi-Fi. The reason I am bothering to write this is to demonstrate how little it takes to enjoy your music without worrying about whatever some snobby audiophile or whomever says about how you must buy some expensive piece or must have the same gear he does or only playing the music he (it is always “he”) likes in order to enjoy “your” music.
This is just about simply the joy of just playing music on the Hi-Fi you have, whether it it’s value is $500, $5000 or $50,000, etc. The simple act of playing the music and enjoying it on what you have is the real value that can not be measured.
I will start by giving a recent real-world example. I recently just got done cleaning some used records I had purchased over the last couple of months. (I do this in batches because I am either a masochist or it is rather therapeutic, I have yet to decide which, but it is really due to need of course. You know my spiel about cleaning records if you have read my articles about it). Anyway, I decided the next day to test listen to some records I had cleaned much earlier. I always write notes on a post-it for each record I clean just stating what I used and I write the word “result” with an equal sign or something so I can take notes when I hear how it turned out. That’s just what I do, but I digress.
So using what I call my reference system in progress, which in the analog department currently consists of a Denon DP-47f with a Ortofon 2M Bronze MM (moving magnet) cartridge and a Musical Surroundings Phenomena 2 phono preamp. The engine if you will, is a Denon AVR (not the best sounding unit and will eventually be replaced by a 2 channel amp) driving a pair of Paradigm Studio 100 v5 speakers (discontinued around late 2015). That is not the whole system, but I’ll tell the rest later in some other article. Anyway, I took a couple of records I had cleaned earlier and sat down to give a brief listen to see what kind of job I did cleaning them. We are talking about $2 and $3 used records here. It is those records that make up about 98% of my library of almost 600 records at this point.
I put on the first one, which was Alan Parsons Project “Eye In The Sky”. I recall this record was not too dirty to the naked eye, but as always if you see dirt, even a little, you can be sure that there is much more you can’t see in the grooves. I used only the MoFi Super Wash on it. The result of my cleaning on this record was fantastic, no clicks or anything in the music, just full dimensional sound, lovely. There was also only the slightest hint of a couple of clicks in the spaces between tracks, which in itself is a hallmark of success and a goal to strive for. (Some will say that the goal is absolute deep black silence. That is the true goal, but rarely achieved even with the best RCMs at any price. It is like chasing perfection). Next was America’s “Holiday” record, (no it is not a Xmas LP). This record was older and dirtier. On this record I used AIVS 3-step with Super cleaner. The result was just as stunning as the first record. I found myself listening to a couple of tracks at least. The point is that the way these records sounded after having taken the effort to clean them automatically induced a feeling of enjoyment and pleasure causing mind and body to be receptive to the energy shift of the music. (That is part of what music does you know, shift energy). No gear was changed, no expensive gear was present, no special sculptures or cables, just my HiFi system as is and a couple of randomly chosen records.
This type of feeling or sense is the holy grail of listening to music. I have just shown you that it can be achieved by anyone, no matter what their system is or preferred physical music medium, (I just chose vinyl records here).
The whole point is that sometimes it is the smallest and simplest things that make huge differences and help you reach that goal of sound so enjoyable that you feel enveloped by the music.
There are other examples of improving sound without great cost, in other words working with what you have that may enable you to enjoy what you have without worrying about envy and contracting “upgraditis” or shiny new object syndrome. This is a great defense against those curmudgeon creatures that tell you that you don’t deserve to listen to music or that your system can’t sound good because you do not have whatever amount of money in your system, etc. For example, simply moving your speakers to a more ideal position or moving your seating or changing the mat on your turntable platter or getting a different or new cartridge if needed or making an adjustment on your phono preamp if you have one with settings. By the way, if you are using lamp cord or ill-matched gage cables for your speakers and cheap dollar store interconnect cables like the kind that generally come with gear, you might want to replace them with the right gauge, better (not expensive) cables. You may not notice sound improvement, but it will add peace of mind.
At the end of the day, it is all about what pleases your ears, what makes your toes tap and what you enjoy, whether you already have a HiFi system or are building one. It is only for you, not some other audiophile or magazine or this or that group. Enjoy what you have and don’t worry.
It’s the little things