I listen through them in the background a couple of times first. Then pick a few tracks to "delve" into further.
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If I'm totally unfamiliar with it I listen like a record A/R guy. Twenty or thirty seconds per track unless it grabs me. If it grabs my attention I'll stay with it for the entirety unless the artist really screws it up. Having said that I'll admit to being completely wrong many,many times in re: first impressions. Absolutely hated Talking Heads, Police,and even the Stones when I first heard them. In my defense, the first time I heard the Stones, I was like 6 years old ;)
I used to listen to it twice in the car to get to know it and then again on the Hi-Fi to see how it sounded, Up until a couple of years ago, unless it was pretty special, it was then consigned to the shelf as another few took its place. I was buying 25-30 CDs a month and never got to know any albums like I used to as a youth. I have now changed my habits and all but stopped buying. I am playing albums, again a few times in the car, until I get to know the music and then I am reviewing them on my RYM account. I will only do the latter when I have given it a fair crack of the whip and reviewing it means I have listened to it in detail. This method means I have discovered a lot of hidden gems in the collection I knew little or nothing about.
I have around 4500 CDs and that's more than enough for me never to need to buy again....but I will! Just not in the previous numbers.
A fairly complicated routine has evolved over time:
New music purchases usually come in monthly to quarterly batches of somewhere between 6 to 12 CDs.
Half go into the car and get popped into the changer. I'll fire up the one I've been most anxious to hear. If it's really got me on the first listen, it stays active. Otherwise, several tracks get a quick listen, before the next CD gets cued up. Cycle thru as necessary over the next 3 to 10 weeks to cover (usually) all tracks. If one CD sounds like it might be sonically and musically special (fairly rare), it may get pulled and brought inside for main rig listening.
Over a week or three, I've ususally (not always, tho) heard every track at least once during my commute. Some get long term residency in the changer while others are quickly popped out and "migrated" for the in-house routine (below). The real losers (also fairly rare) go straight to inventory - lost in my CD racks to grow old and lonely.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the other half of the purchase gets ripped to both my Sonos (multi room) server and my QSonix (main rig) server. The former will get heard in the kitchen, yard, gym, etc, as something slightly more than background music.
Eventually, CDs are swapped from the car into the house for ripping and from the house into the car for commuting time.
Most CDs usually don't get played on the main system until "pre-vetted" on the Sonos or in the car, after they've migrated there. Main system time is now (alas) too limited, and reserved for the music I want to really focus on - meaning music I already know (at least, a little).
This process might sound a little too involved, but it usually works well for me.
Unless it gets complicated when the next batch of CDs arrives before the first batch has been completely rotated.
Then it's chaos. Chaos, I tell you!
I am surprised by how many listen first in the car. One of my greatest pleasures is to listen the first time with full attention over the good stereo, savoring all the new sound and creativity - unless it is terrible, but even then I listen through as many CD's and LP's I keep for one awesome song and never listen to the rest of the disc after the first time or two.
I listen to the entire album once in the main system. Yes, some music grows on you, but if I don't like it at the first listen it won't. The tracks I really like get recorded on my Nak deck and I listen to these compilations. I should be in the mood and have time for vinyl and don't listen to it too often. With cds it is even easier, aside from slight noise there is no drop in quality in my system when I make a recording. I use the best tapes, and in fact usually the tape sounds better to my ear. Also, when recording I can adjust the balance and make it sound louder than discs. I don't keep cds if I only like a track or two unless they are difficult to replace.