Listening

A primary hobby of mine is listening to music.  In general we “use” music for a background to some other hobby or chore. I like to make sure I set some time aside to sit and give a good listen to music fairly often. It’s like a small vacation for the mind. I do get maybe a bit obsessed with sound quality though…

A great read

Plato was deeply suspicious of music for much the same reason Nietzsche celebrated it: in its direct appeal to the emotions, music seems to reach behind our rational faculties. “When a man abandons himself to music,” Plato declared in the Republic, “he begins to melt and liquefy.” Nietzsche wanted to end inhibition. He denounced Richard Wagner for committing a “crime against what is highest and holiest” by composing such moralistic, anti-emotional operas as Tristan und Isolde (1859) and Parsifal (1882).

From The Atlantic, The Soundtracking of America

Of course, I wouldn’t be a hifi geek without sharing about…

My Rig

Built mostly for music with an emphasis on stereo, then surround, and finally for HD movie watching.

Speakers

Long story really, but when I was an undergrad I started reading up on hifi and found that B&W speakers were pretty much always near the top of various lists, and there was a retailer right by me.  Someday perhaps I’ll be able to get some full-fledged Nautilus speakers (and the 6 amps I’d need, and the house to put them in…) but I was lucky enough to buy a demo pair of Nautilus-802s from the dealer.

Abbey Road Studios.  I have two of these, not five

Abbey Road Studios. I have two of these, not five

  • Left and Right: Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus 802
  • Center: Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus HTM2
  • Rear left and right: Bowers & Wilkins Nautilus 805
Amplifiers
Sources
Cables

I have to admit that I was skeptical about cable quality at first until I did my own blind listening in my own home.  That said, I don’t think it’s worth going crazy here.  I use balanced XLR connection from the Oppo straight to the stereo Classé to bypass the Sony, and some nice interconnects from turntable to phono stage and to the Classé as well because of the sensitivity of the signal from the Blue Point Special.  I use bi-wire for the B&W speakers from Kimber Kable, but nothing too crazy.  Lifts to keep speaker cables off the floor?  That’s jumping the shark…

Display

I will hold onto this until the display goes (which could be any time, it’s getting long in the tooth).  You need good black levels to watch movies at home.  This thing still kills it years on…