That’s really cool to read that you were in projection!
I know what you mean about how work can influence how you view a hobby. I’m in to both 2 channel audio and home theater. In my work as a sound designer (that’s the cooler sounding name sound editors began giving themselves at one point) for film and TV, I’m working with movie sound deconstructed all day long, and my job is to construct the sound scape.
Potentially, this could truly undermine my ability to "just watch and enjoy" movies. But for some reason I find it no problem at all. I seem to be able to mostly brick-wall the movie watching experience from being in the business. Often when people find out I do sound for movies they say "you must be thinking of the sound all the time when you watch movies, right?" and I’m like..."uh...no..not really." (Though, of course, when the sound sticks out for good or ill, I notice, or if I choose to be analytical, I can of course do that). So thankfully my work hasn’t ruined my hobby.
The only real conflict, to some degree, comes from the fact I’m essentially sort of "doing home theater" all day long, insofar as I’m watching a movie, creating car chase scenes, shoot-ups, monsters, explosions or whatever. That means by the end of the day the last thing I want is to be bludgeoned by sound, so I don’t have an aggressive sounding HT set up (no overbearing subwoofers to shake the house etc), same for my 2 channel sound.
On another note:
erik wrote: "The point I wanted to make is too often as audiophiles we do ourselves a disservice. We start listening TO equipment, instead of listening to music WITH equipment."
I understand the caution you want to raise, but there is something about that sentiment with which I would sort of disagree.
It’s so common in the audiophile community to have audiophiles continually reminding one another "Remember, it’s ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC."
But...let’s face it: It ISN’T all about the music. If it was, we’d be satisfied the way any normal Joe is with however we listened to music. There’s the cliche about how meager the audio systems are for most musicians...because...they REALLY ARE all about the music, not the technology. My kids love music, and they don’t have to listen through high end audio to love music. Nor do I for that matter. Some of my favorite music experiences are just driving in my car listening through the system that came with the car. in fact, I can get tons of joy from music just listening through my iPhone speakers!
It’s clearly mostly a male thing because of the geek-tech aspect for most audiophiles. The tech part really matters.
Given that value is subjective, I would never want to tell any other audiophile that his interest in this hobby has been calibrated improperly.Why would I? We are all different. Who am I to say what gives someone else their pleasure? If someone is truly driven by the technical aspects of high end audio, even to the point of "Listening To," then I have no reason to question that. Their pleasure is calibrated that way...good for them! In fact, if we didn’t have people who became almost obsessed with the technical details of systems, we wouldn’t have high end audio at all. That’s were speaker designers, amp designers etc come from, generally. Thank goodness for those tech-obsessed people that I can benefit from the fruit of their particular form of pursuit.
Personally, I’m crazy about music, but I acknowledge I’m fascinated (only on a layman’s level, hence with limits) with the technology. It’s cool knowing the specific design goals of the equipment I purchase.
And though I can get lots of pleasure listening to music on cheap systems, listening "To" and "Through" my high end system is just different. Does it make the music itself that much different? Not necessarily. But it does make the SOUND different, and I really like SOUND. So do musicians of course. Geddy Lee, or any other bass player choosing a bass, pay very close attention not just to musical notes, but to getting the particular sound of a bass they desire.
The difference between the sound of different bass guitars is really significant and satisfying. For the same reason, while I can get the musical message on many lower quality sound systems, my system really gives better SOUND to the entire presentation. And I have no qualms about noticing and luxuriating in that aspect, as if concentrating on "how my system sounds" (which is to say, the difference it brings overall against another system), was somehow a lesser form of pleasure.
A for instance is that I’m buying tons of old LPs. I love the music on the LPs, but part of the pleasure is definitely how absolutely gorgeous they sound on my system - that big, round, lush analog sound.
So, my view is never to remind anyone else what they ought to be concentrating on in their own pursuit of this hobby. There’s people who are more "about the music" (although this is often belied by the emphasis they actually have given to their system over the average joe), and people who are "more about the equipment" and everything in between...and that’s fine. Let a thousand flowers bloom!
BTW, I admit to skepticism when I often hear "I’m just really in to this for the music." When you see the level of obsession many of these people have actually put in to their audio system, I think "uh...no...actions speak louder than words and it’s really not all about the music. ’Not that there’s anything wrong with that...’ ;-)