First of all, this is my first post, after comparing a variety of online evaluations of various amplifiers for the past several weeks. I've been particularly interested in Odyssey, Van Alstine and, lately, the Nuforce STA200. I've been working off a Parasound HCA1200ii for over twenty years.
I stumbled back into audio, after attempting to fire-up my Vandersteen 2Ci's and found the 8" woofer offering complementary "clapping" along with the tunes I selected. Now it's in the shop and they want about $400 for the right speaker, but that would call for revamping of drivers in the left speaker, if I want a coherent sound. I should also mention that I "scored" a couple of RP280F Klipsch speakers for under $500 and so now I'm chasing the idea of a 3-d soundstage, which these speakers might not even be able to achieve. So, this sort of brings me to the topic of this thread, which is adequately provocative and certainly resonates with those who like to ponder the subjectivity of one's evaluations as they interact with the alleged objectivity, and apparently equal subjectivity (in evaluation and promotion), of what others are selling.
What I'm seeing in the world of audio, and having gone to numerous live music events, is that many live events sound inferior to carefully recorded music, played back on a decent system. I would guess that my pair of RP280's, fueled by the parasound 1200, would seem rather low-fidelity by the standards of audiogon co-operators. Nevertheless, it's obvious to me that they produce much higher sound quality than what I often encounter in live events.
I have always enjoyed quality audio equipment. I was blown away by my father's klipschorns, when he set them up in 1976. I was blown away by Apogees and Martin Logan Quests when first I heard them. I also find that music itself is basically a miracle - not all of it, of course, but so many absolutely beautiful artistic, intellectual, emotional and even spiritual statements. No one needs to have anything close to an audiophile system to have a tremendously moving experience with a song. If a person is calibrated to critique ever nuance of a system, they will, in some/many cases, not be able to enjoy the expressed musical ideas, the wonderful music itself. None of this modern sound reproductive ability even existed one-hundred years ago. In fact, many people were much more satisfied, and I mean MUCH LESS NEEDY, than we are today. Let's not get into discussions about children working seven day work weeks, which was and is inexcusable.
To be honest, much of what we do here comes down to externalizing our restlessness, which is always changing forms and will always offer its own restless response to any apparent answer that surfaces, even if that means we change to another hobby, another point of restless interest. It's worth taking a moment to review all of the things we have "conquered" over the years, all the objects of desire we have hunted, trapped, and moved on from. Some question whether this undermines more soulful living.
So, again, we can call it a hobby, or anything else, but in essence we are finding a way to output a lot of energy in our searches and experiments. There is hope for and experience of some levels of pay-off, but the inner drive to keep searching is rarely given much consideration. It is rarely understood as anything more than the driver of experience... There's nothing particularly wrong about any of it, but it does, in my view, blot out the bigger picture... Lately, I find myself just listening to the sound of the environment - how life itself magnifies sounds, as a way to track what I might be doing in looking for a 3-D capable setup. The living sound environment, say on my back porch, is always unique, always depends on my focus, always depends on my tensions at the time, and even depends on how I'm identifying with time, whether I'm truly giving myself over to the listening experience. I think this whole notion of beautiful music is really a very deep thing, very essential.
Ultimately, in my view, the setup is less important than one's willingness to sit receptively, with a state of mind that can truly receive and enjoy the full impact of music, mostly making system limitations far less important than the personal engagement with the sound.