"Do you ever just listen to music without critiquing your system?"
All the time. Especially when I'm in the car.
All the time. Especially when I'm in the car.
Are you all being honest right now? When I'm in my van conducting business and the radio's on, I can't help but take note when a SACD recording comes on. It's obvious. It doesn't mean I don't go on to enjoy it. I don't know where "there" is but I guarantee I'm here noticing the fabulous performance of my gear while loving what I hear.
interestingly, i enjoy both the music and my system at the same time. i enjoy the music and enjoy that the system reproduces it well. i enjoy the way an artist plays a certain passage...but also that the system is revealing enough that i can enjoy those subtlies. so both at the same time in the best possible way!
I have had my system for close to a year. I feel it is nicely put together and borders on the high-end. I have yet to begin investigating various cable choices. I also have a Shumann Resonance unit, ( dont want to un-tape it from it's suggested position on the wall of six feet above and between the speakers, to say which one it is... the black one), Quantum Symphony Pro, Furutech CD-2 demagnetizer, ( all purchased here).
Now, I had been told by a few very well respected musicians that they feel that I have perfect pitch. Also my hearing is very good for my age.
The fore mentioned tweaks don't seem to make a difference to me.
I am too busy enjoying great music.
For the most part selecting what i want to hear is perhaps the most difficult thing since i am trying to figure out what would fit my mood at the time. i don't like to jump up and say "no, not this, it's great but i need something more "XYZ-ish" right now". so i like to hear the whole piece if possible, even though CD's are a lot longer than LP's. that has really changed the way we listen to music (not to mention all the other factors). but anyway i do like to, at some point during the piece, stare at a certain point on the front wall, and focus for a moment or two on the presentation, the sense of space created by the recording. this usually doesn't last long and i lapse back into what is being played again.
but it's an interesting exercise if decidedly academic in nature.
All I can say is, the OP was eluding to the VERY common condition of focusing on equipment flaws rather than enjoying music. And he gets a bunch of responses like this is NOT common at all and he is alone. Very untrue. There's a reason this site is flooded with "like new" equipment. He is far from alone.
If you haven't changed your system in 2 years or more, then feel free to post a smug response. Everyone else should work on their humility and honesty.
The cup is half empty or half full, right? If the system is great, you'll focus on attributes. If not, it's like Elizabeth said. But focus you will. Some people have ultra hi end gear to whom this is not a hobby. Clearly this thread or forum for that matter doesn't apply to them. Nor to the guy that spends all his money on music with a cheapo system.
Granted, it took all of us some time to settle on our 'final' system but the OP simply asked if we were in the same boat as him: enjoying our systems.
The allusion you refer too didn't seem that implicit (at all) to me but I get what YOU mean. I was tempted to add that a fuse and cabling change brought things up measurably but I was just messing around and thought I didn't need to change things at all, so it was not worth mentioning.
All the best,
here is the truth.
when listening, sometimes one is in the enjoyment mode, while at other times, one notices deficiencies, or aspects of the sound that are not pleasing--the analytic mode.
music can appeal to the head (a lot of bach's harpsichord works, especially the well tempered clavier and the chromatic fantasy and fugue), or it can appeal to the heart.
much musical is symmetrical and mathemtical.
there is a strong correlation between musical talent and math aptitude.
FWIW, I am more of a gestalt listener. By that I mean I can identify which of two components or recordings I like better, but I am not as good as identifying subtle differences in SQ that result in my overall preference of one over another. Unless of course there are major problems. I usually just sit back and listen (and most often am doing something else at the same time, since I have more than a bit of ADD). I usually have to concentrate really, really hard in order to listen analytically, esp. if I like the music.
there were two parts to my response, namely mode of listening and the effect of the music.
let me expound a little on both, giving musical examples as i go.
here is how i listen.
i have 4 generres of music--classical, jazz, blues and new age.
since i own over 2000 cds, i take a very disciplined , but unusual approach. i try to listen to all of my cds. considering the number of them, and the fact that i listen to music for 20 hours/wk, it takes almost two years to listen to all of them. so, i listen to all of my jazz cds, then classical, etc.
i play my cds in label order.
when i am just listening i am not conscious (analyzing) flaws in my system.
every once in a while i select from among 25 reference cds and look for flaws, such as lack of bass, or excess treble. i use holly cole "don't smoke in bed", dave grusin and lee ritenour "two worlds", "the eye of the sparrow", from a sheffield sampler, Ravel "alborado del graciso", conducted by ansermet, bela fleck "cosmic hippo" and sophie yates "scarlatti in Iberia (harpsichord solo).
the issue of the effect of the music is dependent upon its structure. i find many baroque composers, especially bach harpsichord pieces, scarlatti sonatas, and couperin harpsichord pieces, helps to stimulate thinking and problem solving.
spiritual music--cantatas and requiems, have a more emotional impact, as do some symphonies and music of chopin, especially his nocturnes and presludes.
i find pop music rather superficial and banal and , in general of no interest.
some jazz music, e.g., some big band is cerebral, while certain musicians' music may produce an emotional response, especially some female vocalists.
when an artist is so accomplished, i tend to be mesmerized by his playing and lose the emotional content.
i hope my term paper gets at least a b.
sorry if i have been a bit didactic.
strong correlation between musical talent and math aptitude
Correlation is a dangerous word, since it might suggest that one thing is causing another. For instance: There is a strong correlation between tattoos and motorcycle accidents (tattoos are causing motorcycle accidents)
Washington DC has three times more police and eight time more murders than Denver (same population). More policemen = more murders (strong correlation).