A fresh calendar is an opportunity not to be missed on many levels when it involves life actuations, but have you considered challenging yourself to explore hi-fi in a new way? I’m talking about revisiting analog if you’ve long gone digital, what about cassettes and finally getting the Nakamichi Dragon tape deck you drooled over in the ‘80s? Or the other way round? Many diehard vinyl heads have shunned streaming digital, but the technological strides made in this realm are not to be taken lightly by those who appreciate the sound regardless of how it is generated.
Then there are those who eschewed all forms of physical media for music and prefer to float among the cloud(s). Could they be persuaded to buy a CD player and take advantage of the ridiculously low priced and digitally bit-shy compact disc? There are so many ways to listen, interact, integrate and enjoy the playback of the recorded event as to provide a lifetime of sonic fulfillment for each and every member of the many tribes of high fidelity.
But, there is a downside to the hobby as well, the term ‘audiophilia nervosa’ has been used for decades, and is an apt description for the intellectual and emotional affliction which grips many in the community; that constant itch to upgrade, change or obsess over gear, as opposed to music. The goal becomes the unachievable – the truly unobtainable – the sonic perfection of playback. The foolish may claim it, but those who do fail to recognize the limitations of subjective perfection. Hi-fi is all about different strokes, for different folks.
The reason I mention this is because what if those involved recreationally in high fidelity, those who were afflicted, said, “enough!” and simply decided to start enjoying the music? This would be a radical change for many, to not obsess about cables, footers, AC conditioners, room treatments, tube rolling, etc. and just focused on the sense of well being a hi-fi imbues the listener with. While committed music streaming service/DAC lovers trying a cheap, vintage turntable and hauling out a box of old vinyl could seem like crazy to some, the idea of listening to relax is just as off-putting to others.
What if 2023 was the year, instead of hand wringing over whether your silver-wired interconnects were good enough, that you just got comfortable on your sofa and let the music play? Whatever you decide to challenge yourself with in hi-fi this year,(headphones, vintage tube amps?) be sincere about it, make a real step out of your comfort zone… you just might find a whole new one.