Do you have to be “in the mood?”

Do you have to be in the mood to enjoy the music on your stereo, or does your stereo put you in the mood?  I find that if I put on my set just because I want to enjoy the sound coming out, I seldom have a very good outcome.  That expensive big beautiful rig over there invites you to play it.  But, playing it just for kicks doesn’t do it for me. I have to be really receptive to what I’m playing on it, otherwise I’m prone to all sorts of imagined defects. 
 Music reproduction is not an exact science.  There must be a “suspension of disbelief” in the realness  of the sound produced for me  to enjoy it,  much as we overlook the  implausible incongruities in movie plots so that we can enjoy a film.   I must be involved in the music itself to  appreciate  the sound and really enjoy my rig.
7c67ab18 c2ce 4b45 9523 fc4a71684ce0rvpiano
For me, it's not an either/or proposition. When I want to listen, it rewards almost all the time. When I'm bored and just try it out with no expectations, it can completely overwhelm me and make me glad I did listen and then, there are times when I just turn if off and stare at the TV. 

I'm also always aware that it's a representation, but I'm also aware of just how beautiful it can sound, and in that, I find joy. 

It's not always a bulls eye but it's mostly close enough for the girls I go with. 😄

All the best,

I listen to the stereo most all day every day since I retired nine and a half years ago. No need to be in the mood.
Post removed 
Yes I do find I have to or need to be in a certain mood for it to be best appreciated.
But tbh that is one of the reasons I have more than one rig.

If NOT in the mood to be at one with the music and nothing but the music then I will likely have system 2 or 3 on playing.
Would not describe it as background music as I am still attentative but certainly not 100% as I would like to be on the main rig.
I find adding listening time to my schedule is best. This works better in the winter as summer is when I'm busy with yard work and other chores. Not trying to advocate but small doses of THC will ALWAYS put me "in the mood". Haven't had the pleasure in 30 years but many states are making it legal. Can't wait to hear my reference rig they way I listened in my teens and twenties.
It occurs to me that this not unlike another of your recent questions: “Music lover or audiophile?”; but, considered from a somewhat different angle. You pose some interesting and sometimes provocative questions, but I think that there can be a downside to overanalyzing the music listening experience. My comments are not meant to be judgmental in any way and are simply a reflection of my personal approach.

I love my gear and have no trouble admitting that there are times when I like to revel in the sound for the sake of the sound; the “ear candy” aspect of it all. I can’t tolerate listening to music that I don’t consider to be of at least reasonably high artistic quality no matter how good the sound, but there are recordings in my collection that simply sound so good that their ultimate musical merit takes a back seat to their sonic merit. I have no trouble admitting this because when all is said and done I love music more than my gear or the “sound”. I may not always have the time to listen, but I can honestly say that I am never not “in the mood”. Like all of us, I am always in one kind of mood or another and whatever that mood is dictates what music I listen to. Moreover, when a recorded performance absolutely kills artistically it doesn’t matter that much whether I am listening on my big system or my car radio. Of course, when that great performance also sounds great and the time/scheduling stars align so that I can listen to it on the big rig the experience can be special. Sometimes, depending on my mood, I prefer to not take a chance that I may start to worry about my four year old power tubes. Sometimes there can be an upside to keeping it all more simple.
Also, I think of my system like it is a big clock radio.... It is a device I use to play music. I do not think if it as some high maintenance date I have to approach 'just right' or he or she may walk out on me.
Most nights I sit in front of the rig and read while I listen, and sometimes just listen. There are occasional evenings when I just don't feel like listening, and that's ok. It just makes the next time more special. Being critical of the system's sound rarely effects my enjoyment.  
I believe that I am always in the mood and looking for an opportunity to fire up the system usually with a predetermined play list (90% vinyl) with that said my system is in a shared space and have to wait till the opportunity presents itself for my indulgence. Have been retired for 6 years but it seems things have gotten busier and if I don't get my audio time it wears on me, I need that release it really helps me relax. With my system being in a shared space I have assembled a very nice headphone system in my upstairs office that I can get away to and get that release, oh and by the way it always sounds good and satisfies. Cheers
@rvpiano, unfortunately it sounds as if you're still held in the throes of audiophilia. I'd like to think I'm out of that bag now, the message has become far more important than the medium for me in recent years. Certain songs never fail to evoke emotions. Eg Another Girl, Another Planet makes me feel 18 again, Yesterday When I Was Young reminds me that I'm not. Ben (Marti Webb) never fails to move me, nor does Lili Marlene ( Lale Andersen). The Lighthouse Family's Lost in Space gets my attention whatever it's played on.

Perhaps you could try taking a musical trip down memory lane to help get your sense of focus back. Music matters, but only if it moves us. Best of luck.

Of course mood also matters, how could it not? With the right kind of company, the right weather, the right food inside me, and no discernible pain or worry of any kind, everything is better.


Yes indeed! For background sound I have an excellent FM station that broadcasts a quality signal: WUSF 89.7 Tampa. NPR during the day, All Night Jazz starting at 9 PM. Am listening right now to it on a vintage Diatone/Mitsubishi DA-F10 tuner - NPR' s All Things Considered.
Music is the closest art form to S*X! And like S*X one must be "in the mood" for it! Otherwise ...
... the experience is wasted!
Frogman and cd318,

You are both right.

I compose these posts because I have inconsistency in my listening experiences.   I over analyze as a means of trying to to obtain a better perspective.
 I also think others may have similar reactions and I wonder how they deal with them.

I do wish it were simpler for me.
Music seems to always be 'on' in my house, albeit a lot of it is in a background mode. For me mood is not an issue so much as opportunity.

When I want to hear what is on the disc in it's purest sense I use headphones (I have a dedicated headphone system). When I want to just sit back and enjoy the audiophile experience, or just have background music for reading, I use my main system. Some years ago I backed off any pretension of getting a near SOTA system and focused on just setting up a system that sounds good with the music and format I listened to the most (CD's). I ditched my TT , records, and ARC SP10/Threshold amp (impossible for me to listen to this with out admiring how great they sounded). I got a pair of tuneful speakers and a tubed integrated amp. I can now, for the most part, enjoy the music without thinking a great deal about the system's sound or the acquisition of new (better?) equipment.

Worked for me anyway. Good luck in finding your solution.

not "be in the mood" so much as have the time to devote to at least a couple of hours. I can listen casually through the car or a home Deep Blue 2 bluetooth speaker. Like Elizabeth, I listen many hours a day, just not all of my listening on my primary rig.
I remember the days of purchasing and trading up for a better receiver; my humble beginnings.  With the passing of time, my gear is much better and the sound more refined.  I listen to vinyl, CD, and a tube tuner (MR-67) in no particular order.  I enjoy both the tactile and listening feeling my system provides and therefore, "It" puts me in a good mood/place; always.  I have enough to critically analyze; I rather enjoy my gear instead.

Both!  Mood certainly effects the listening experience.

If you are in a bad mood your system will start out sounding bad, but sometimes the mood changes as you play music.

Also sometimes the system has to warm up, and that may take a couple of albums for your music to smooth out.

I like long listening periods (hours) to really get into the sound.
Most times I’m not in the mood and it comes down to Netflix or the stereo. If I go the music route, the rig sounds so good that I get in the mood. I’m done when it’s past my bedtime and I’m muttering to myself about how awesome something sounds.