What’s your obstacles on the way of listening


Summer time is coming, birds are going crazy, saws and grass cutters are buzzing, hummers are knocking, leaves are rustle... what else is on the way of your listening? ... my best season of listening is Christmas time and fallowing couple of months. Looks like Arctic Circle geographically the best place for critical listening:)... lucky Alaskans and North Canadians :)
surfmuz
Thank you so much for posting this question!

I have something to share...

2 annoying ghettos hoodlums that recently moved to my neighborhood?!
1st one is on a loud ATV, 2nd guy is on a mini motorcycle. They wear their pants to their knees and really long t shirts. Is this cool? I don’t know. Unfortunately, I can see them because my office has got some pretty big windows. (birds eye view from 2nd floor) They narrowly miss cars on the road and nearly got hit more than once.  The worst thing is they often loop around my street because they are racing!

The strange thing is...I don’t know how they got here. Or..where the heck they came from. If they live close to me, they are probably selling A LOT of drugs.... 😆 lol
Yah, ATVs and motorcycles are really noisy.. we used to have modified exhaust car in our neighbourhood thanks God  not any more... I think it was lot of complaints about it.  Forgot to mention fish tank air and filtration pump... luckily it’s under my control :)
Hummers are knocking?  
Advance the timing a BCH.
So the question is, What distract us from listening?

Or what distracts us period. 

I'm a retired HEAVY equipment master mechanic. I have been plagued with hearing hypersensitivity, sense birth. I still have to wear -15db inserts.  I HATE NOISE.  49 years of ear plugs and muffs..

The benefit was and is great hearing NOW. 16Khz plus, from 20khz in my 20s. I'm 66 now.  By 18khz there is some serious roll off.

I can at least drive with the window down NOW. That would just ruin a listen for the night, and the AC in MY service truck kept ice cream cold in the cab..:-) Still does.. That would dry you out like no other.. Catch 22..THEN.. Not so much now..

I have a neighbor that moved in last year. He has a PU with pipes and a Harley that is pretty quiet.. BUT 5:30 in the morning, and he will warm them up for 10 plus minutes.. DRIVES ME BONKERS.. It takes ONE minute to warm up a piece of NEW equipment... UNLESS your below ZERO.. or above 100 degrees.. pretty simple..

Contributed to my heart attack, I kid you not.. I'm CLOSE with this guy, I'm back on the iron pile..  I'm patient as Jobe though.. Potato in the ol tailpipe time.. :-)

Don't make me uncork my 5.0 liter Eddie Bower. LOL 180 degree headers.. WhoppA!! Serious "Farm Truck" 12.9 quarter with a chip change, little turbo boost bump an NOS adjustment.
Fast PU.. LOL 20+ miles to the gallon..
So the question is, What distract us from listening?
Well, what distract us is wide question... some times an article topic or phone beep could distract you from listening but those things are controllable by you and other are not. 
My wife running the vacuum cleaner. 
Wives are like that... vac cleaners, hair dryers, dishwashers and washing machines :)... most disturbing is watching YouTube videos during your listening:) 
My room is very quiet.
Wife, kids and phone messages all play their part but nothing so much as the sheer lack of time.

To make things worse, it takes me ages to get into an album these days. The days when I could give a record several weeks for me to get into it have long gone.

Jimi Hendrix LPs used to always take a fair bit of time for some reason.

I’ve been listening to ’Vauxhall and I’ again as a friend said it was his favourite Morrissey album.

Previously I kind of skipped through it, preferring Viva Hate, Your Arsenal, You are the Quarry etc, but going back to it some years later I can now see some of its charms.

I hope it doesn’t mean ANY album could start sounding good IF you play it long enough. Maybe it’s best to leave that troublesome thought that in the realm of dreams that some marketing executives might have.
Well, I am waiting on GIK to cough up my new traps and diffusors next month, but in the mean time I have my crossovers out so I can convert the cables to the individual drivers and from the amp to removeable, as well as fixing up some issues with how I had caps installed.  So right now, my main system is unusable.
All the rest of life. 
I am lucky our house has a daylight basement where my audio system is located. . My listening room is essentially underground and in a sprawling space so the acoustics are fantastic. My lawn guy can be right outside on the daylight side and it is barely disurnable.
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However, the as quiet the heat pump is, in an adjacent room,  it still clogs the soundstage when on... summer for the heat. I have a separate headphone system to listen in the evenings when the air conditioning is on. Mornings, it typically is not.
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Great, funny topic.  Thanks OP!

No evening noises except my old basement furnace in winter.  Pretty amazing since the old houses here are tightly packed - but it's a residential side street.  The furnace can intrude during quiet musical passages but is less noticeable when things get loud.  Still, it adds noise no matter the volume.

Soon to come - the 17-year locusts here on the East coast.  Natural, inescapable cacophony.  My 4th experience: 1970, 1987, 2004, 2021.

No wife = less noise, even when not listening.
Sleep (still need it)
Preoccupation with the sound of my system.  You know....cable A vs cable B, fuse directionality, carbon fiber footer or metal cone?, “is it broken in yet?”, etc. 😱
I listen most early in the morning and later in the evening. Sometimes I'm washing/drying clothes in the laundry room across the hall at night, and that's distracting, but I try to avoid that usually.   
been at this since the early 80’s... but for a few years prior to covid i almost stopped listening to music at home, playing with the hifi rig... it just sat idle ...

work, community service, parenting, golf, cars, cycling, live sports and musical performances, socializing with friends, and maybe too much cable news...

for better or worse the covid shut-in brought me back whole hog into it... i am glad it did... listening to beautiful music, marveling at the performances and the sound (sometimes of performers who have passed, long ago or recently), it makes me happy, more positive, and more balanced, more at peace overall i think - don’t think i will let it fall by the wayside again
@keegiam
you right, cicadas r real disaster. Every body get ready for the worst this summer.  https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2021/04/16/world/brood-x-cicada-2021-scn/index.html
@ghdprentice  I had terrible sound variation due to A/C going on, both mine and all my neighbors on our transformer, it seemed.  I fixed it by using a PS Audio P-20 regenerator, and from what you describe, this might work for you, too.  Sounds great all day and night.
surface noise. tape hiss. sound of appliances humming and furnace roaring. air conditioner running. neighbor yahoo's 2-strokes and junky music. 
@jbrrp1

Thank you. It isn’t electrical... I have a direct line. It is the very slight background noice. My listening area is dead silent... well, except when the fan is running in the air conditioning. But I can always turn it off for a while.
I fixed my room by adding a mini split inverter combo AC/ heating system. Its dead quiet. The room is well treated. Close all doors. Favorite beverage....Feet up. Digital nirvana. Albums are such a pain. Relax and enjoy the peace and solitude especially in the late evening.  
Our dog has excellent hearing. She is a coward, constantly on alert and reacts to even subtle street sounds with barking and howling that goes on far too long.   Damn!

The dog was dumped on us by our Daughter and we love her........the dog.
First, I now realize how lucky I am, and will keep this in mind if I ever think of moving.

What a good decision it was to pay extra for the insulated windows and insulated door glass when I renovated our 3 season porch (adjacent to main living/listening space).

Original listening room windows, 1951, are single layer, but tested very airtight by weatherproofing project, and added storm windows made them a good sound blocking combo as well. 

A prior ’outdoor weather’ problem now gone. Loud talking turned into moving lips if seen. We have a neighbor who is partially deaf, thus LOUD when on the phone, outside in decent weather, close enough to drive Donna crazy outside on her glider. From my listening chair no sound gets thru.

Weather-strips at door bottoms, and sound strip on the adjacent kitchen door (installed for prior dishwasher noise), as well as buying the most silent dishwasher available means the dishwasher can be running, refrigerator can kick on, ice maker can clunk, or Donna and her sister can be in the kitchen quietly talking, I don’t hear them unless they get loud, then somebody has to go, or listen later.

Me listening or viewing while Donna watching TV in bedroom upstairs, around 4 right angle bits of corridor, she can leave the door open, we don’t hear each other. If I raise the volume too much, she closes the door where she is, I also put door bottom strips on my office door and the bedroom door. If noisy stuff, like Korean dramas (they cry loudly a lot), it’s sub-titles so I can turn the sound very low.

Forced air system, listening room is at the end of the line, not a main duct, can be heard if no music or video is on, but not when listening or viewing.

Old ’Sleepy Hollow’ neighborhood, very little thru traffic, but garbage trucks in the morning readily heard, big UPS/FedEx trucks if squeaky brakes, if nearby. Dogs barking when they pass each other right outside. Sometimes a ’whole house shudder’ when a big ass plane passes over, luckily rare.

And, I do have an acquired ability to tune everything else out. Door bell rings, Donna comes home, thru the front door, .... Pizza or Chinese food delivery ... they gotta break thru to the other side.

Prior to CD’s we trained our brains to be unaware of clicks and pops fairly well. After many years of CDs, when I got back into Vinyl, listening to well worn lps, I had to regain that ability. Then get better equipment, clean, new vinyl ...

Incidentally, I was just lying in bed the other day, remembering how I was able to transport myself to another place while riding the subway to and from NYC and Brooklyn everyday. 1970’s, nyc over 8 million, horribly crowded subways, very few air-conditioned trains, and when that crowded, asses to elbows, track and brake noise, odors, OMG.

I would close my eyes, put my brain in ’I’m not here’ mode, think about .... Then, you had to have a clock, like a Cicada, to ’wake’ yourself, break the trance, to get off at your stop. 3 changes from NYC to Brooklyn (living near Pratt Institute). And that reminded me of the period when I could simply decide when I wanted to wake up, say 5:20 am. Just think it, bingo, eyes open at 5:20. Can’t do it now, but for years, any time I chose, bingo, awake.

Point is, you can train your brain to be unaware of other input, even a lot of other input. A few door bottom strips ...




Read somewhere that people get obsessed with finding quiet so they move and move but still end up getting wound up by the slightest noise.

Having said that anechoic chambers are strangely creepy and unsettling places- you need some background noise.

Anyone watched the Ken Russel film Altered States with the isolation/ sensory deprivation tank (admittedly drugs also involved)

The birds are pretty noisy in the morning here but lorries and loud bike pipes on the nearby bypass are the bane of my life

Had a semi 30's cottage- you could tell what channel the guy was watching next door when he wasn't coughing and almost rattling the windows- rent it out now as it used to really get me down (selfish git used to park in the middle of the loop access road and keep his tree surgery stuff everywhere; remember 1st day moving in and he said that's your spot! Tried to be nice but in the end mental health was more important.

We live on a pretty quiet street. No through traffic. I never listen in the mornings as I prefer quiet starts to the day. But the afternoons? Lawnmowers, big jets sometimes (We live under one of the flight paths for Paine Field) and sometimes the neighbor's visiting grand kids. And of course, my wife. She works from home until 1700 so out of respect I headphone or just play Halo in my office. But that works both ways: Sometimes she's not overly fond of my musical tastes. <grin>
So my serious listening sessions are typically when she's off someplace or I'm in a mood for Jazz (and she's not cooking). We negotiate and get by.

Happy listening.
Nice weather here and my car hobby kicks in big time.
@elliotbnewcombjr,

"Incidentally, I was just lying in bed the other day, remembering how I was able to transport myself to another place while riding the subway to and from NYC and Brooklyn everyday. 1970’s, nyc over 8 million, horribly crowded subways, very few air-conditioned trains, and when that crowded, asses to elbows, track and brake noise, odors, OMG.
I would close my eyes, put my brain in ’I’m not here’ mode, think about .... Then, you had to have a clock, like a Cicada, to ’wake’ yourself, break the trance, to get off at your stop. 3 changes from NYC to Brooklyn (living near Pratt Institute). And that reminded me of the period when I could simply decide when I wanted to wake up, say 5:20 am. Just think it, bingo, eyes open at 5:20. Can’t do it now, but for years, any time I chose, bingo, awake."


Yes, it’s a weird habit that. I could do it once upon a time. Each morning I’d open my eyes and the clock would say more or less what I imagined.

Nowadays, my restful sleep seems to happen in the last couple of hours before waking, if at all, and without prompting I could very easily oversleep.

It was a good thing my daily treks on the London underground happened during the 80s - my late teens/early 20s - I couldn’t take it now. The trains were often hot, noisy and very crowded and back then you were obliged to give up your seat to a woman or an elderly person. I wonder if they still do it now?

It’s also kind of strange how some background sounds are quite acceptable eg surface noise, birds singing, general low level hum etc and yet the sound of a tap dripping is almost painful.

Ditto the sound of my wife’s kitchen blender - a horrible racket. She doesn’t seem bothered, whereas I’m checking noise levels on everything from fridges, washing machines, vacuum cleaners etc before buying them.

Voices too. The only less than harmonious ones (Dylan, Costello, Springsteen) I can listen to are usually surrounded by lavish production techniques.

I’ve also gradually gone from listening mainly to punk, rock and pop to easy listening (Frank, Nat, Matt) and now seem to be heading towards the string sounds of Percy Faith, Frank Chacksfield, Syd Dale, Roger Roger etc.

Oh well, I don’t care. Image no longer matters as long as my tastes are still expanding and not contracting.
My system is set up in the home theater room “dual purpose” treated and all, sound I’d fantastic but when my daughter invites friends and her boy friend over I seem to be kicked out more than not! Have lost my Friday night glass of whiskey listening sessions. 
@sgreg1  
familiar situation. That’s why I build two systems at opposite parts of the house:) plus nice earphone DAC amp. 
My audio room is  almost sound isolated relatively silent...

My wife dont disturb it because my room is on the second floor....

I enjoy silence between notes....And i killed in the egg any growing noisy bird....

Music is therapy and a road to heaven....
@cd318

Entertaining post!  To some of your comments:

I rode London's ("tube") a lot in the mid-late 90's.  Got a big kick out of "Mind the Gap."  Only the Brits.  A few times I rode it all the way from the West End to the far East End.  One could hear the accents change as riders boarded and departed along the way.  Probably the same in NYC.

Where I live, public transit has dedicated elderly seating.  If it's crowded, most folks honor it.

A suggestion for the blender (it only lasts seconds but it's a jolt if you don't know it's coming).  My sister uses a super-cheap blade coffee grinder at her place (instantaneous jump to 100+ db on quiet mornings).  Before I start it, I warn everyone it's coming.  I've told my family why I do that, but they don't get it.  Your wife doesn't need to get it - just ask her to warn you.

I'm pretty old, but I never ever expected to see punk and Percy Faith mentioned in the same paragraph.

@mastering92, you could take the 'pro-active' approach....

Snug up to the punks....share a blunt wid da kidz.  Check out their act, see if they're dealing, or just burning 'n basting.

If the latter, opine they're smoking floor sweep and they ought to chat up their source.

I did that to some that thought my porch was a great place to burn.
Came out, sucked their pinroll down to zilch, told them to go punch out their contact. (It was trash, really...)....

Never saw them again.
“lucky Alaskans and North Canadians :)”

Unsure if the Canadians define themselves as lucky at this moment in history.