In searching for meaning

Sometimes bothers me the question what is the meaning of all this endless chasing of the perfect sound? Looking on it objectively it is a pain. First of all one puts a lot of effort gathering the knowledge, because it is something that requires hundreds of hours of reading and digging into that matter. Then hours of voluntary work have been put into modifying or creating components. I’ve spend weekends braiding cables, creating custom wooden compartments for filters, adjusting damping material of the speakers, soldering cables, glueing and grinding wood and so on. Sometimes I am asking myself why didn’t I spent this time doing something sensible?

The other painful part is the financial aspect of that hobby. I’ve spent nearly all the money I saved during the last year on gear. Every cent I have earned, was poured into this project because the gear is expensive. These expenditures could hardly be qualified as investment because everyone knows that once component gets outdated it loses his value.

My home audio system consisting of Fostex FE 108 Sigma full-range speakers, AMR DP-777 digital processor, Line Magnetic 211IA tube amplifier and SOTM sms-200 network player.
My home audio system consisting of Fostex FE 108 Sigma full-range speakers, AMR DP-777 digital processor, Line Magnetic 211IA tube amplifier and SOTM sms-200 network player.

Then it comes another even more painful activity called critical listening. One have to assess the effect that modification brings into the system’s performance. This means hours of listening to the same well known tunes again and again in order to discern the impact of particular modification on the system and make sure if it is real improvement or just another exotic effect. This is one of the most painful activities because it prevents the listener of enjoying music. Instead he focuses all his attention on sonic and timbral characteristics of the produced sound. Bass and heights quality, soundstage dimensions and tonal balance is what one is listening for. It is not listening to the music but to the sound.

From this perspective all looks mad and meaningless to me. I am even thinking that the blog I started recently is in a way a product of my searching for meaning in this audiophile hobby. Such thoughts are giving me a bitter taste because it turns out that this blog could be byproduct of something that might have no sensible meaning of its own.

It was yesterday when I was gratified for all my efforts and I got an answer of my searching for meaning. It happened after the latest speaker position adjustment that took me about a day of experimenting. At the end of the day I picked up some forgotten in the old hard drive Hi-Res records that I haven’t heard since long time ago — the albums “Last Dance” by Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden, an ECM recording in 24 bit 96 kHz, and “No Cover” by Sara K. also in Hi-Res.

It was fascinating, the system had never sounded so real, it was like me staying at the performance venue on my couch. I was so close to the musicians and everything was like real. I spent a very relaxed evening unable to detach myself off the sofa. I listened to the entire albums and then I went to bed. I had a very good sleep that might be a result from the cure effect of the music.

IKEA wooden bed
After a good listening session I can sleep really well in my simple wooden bed from IKEA.

Now I finally know what the meaning of all this audiophile stuff is about. The meaning is to get connected with the music and to let its full potential to affect you.

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