There are two kinds of listeners. Those who strive for the perfect sound. These people are constantly updating and fooling with the gear. They get up every 20 seconds to change something and rarely will listen to a whole album in the sweet spot but talk a lot about time in said spot. They own a lot of test disks and bad disks with "great tracks". They can hear a single flaw from the kitchen and will run into the music room to find the cause, even if it is just the bassist's ring hitting the fret. These people have both Glenn Gould Goldberg Variations, DSOTM (LP, CD1992, SACD), Eagles live, and every Mahler CD ever made. This group will be more likely to still be buying LPs and own three phono stages. These people buy wine based on The Wine Spectator or similar publication, the less circulation the better. They have at least one book by Hugh Johnson but have never actually read it cover to cover. Most interesting is that these people prefer to listen alone unless showing off the system.
Those who love music. Most of these people have much simpler systems but some do have decent gear. These people have not replaced anything since the last piece broke or when CD players came out. People in this group have relatively cheap systems and love them. They don't care where the sweet spot is as long and the music is passionate and played artistically: And they can tell. None of these people own the ASO version of Carmina Burana on SACD. These people own a number of live opera albums where you can hear the players stomping around on stage and they never noticed the footsteps until you mentioned them. They don't know what silibance is but know that on early Bartoli, she needed a little more breath control and sometimes her runs got away from her. They are perfectly happy to pull out an original Kay Star LP and don't think there are any problems with it. These people buy all CDs except for albums they already have on LP. They are using the same record cleaner they bought in college. They have been meaning to buy a new needle for fifteen years. Many of these people are musicians and therefore poor. These people own Naxos, usually because they know that Uzbhetch Detrichla with the Sophia Filharmonik in 1963 is really the best version, regardless of what everyone else says. If you rifle through this person's music, you will only recognize one in five conductors and one in ten artists. They may have DSOTM or Eagles, but they will be the original LPs they bought in college or HS. These people also love wine but they know only three kinds: "red", "white", and "whatever you are having". These people are comfortable listening with others as long as they don't make noise or get up every minute to adjust something.
Copyright Peter Jay Smith 2005 Return to helarc.com