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  • Writer's pictureSteve Elford

Listening Optimization

Building knowledge and skill

This is the first blog in what will probably become a long series. I thought for quite a while about the overall subject matter - system setup, system matching, room acoustics, supports, mains accessories, tweaks and even your brain (how you listen). I could have called it almost any one of those as a title but each one on its own doesn’t cover anywhere near enough. I’ve had a lot of experience in all these things in various past lives, but I’m now working in the realm of retail/consultancy and that puts a different slant on things. I used to be a manufacturer and back then, in essence, I simply wanted everyone to buy my products. If you’re a good retailer though, you’re aiming for a much broader and longer-term state of satisfaction for your clients.

Going right back to basics – let's take a ‘system’, some music and ourselves – the three elements of the equation. We like our music. Maybe we want to reproduce the tune of the songs, the excitement of events that were recorded, or the performance of a lifetime from our favourite virtuoso. And we want it to meet some level of sound quality standards depending on our taste and expectations. That process, if we get interested in its return, can start to push us along the upgrading path. 

Time is an element too. We tend to gain an interest in our music when we are young, and just blast it out on a boom box or through headphones. The joy and emotion from the music becomes a highly entertaining feeling that brings a great deal of satisfaction. Now this ‘satisfaction’ quotient is important, because it’s this that changes with time. 

So maybe from here we can devise the first principle of listening optimisation. It is simply ‘improving satisfaction’. And that might just as easily come from a remastered favourite album, finding a new young artist we'd never heard before, upgrading a router or buying a bigger power amplifier. The trick is finding which bits matter, and in what sequence. 

Most audiophiles have worked this out of course, these processes become the elements of our interest. But I mention them here because they all require deep consideration when it comes to being effective in investing hard-earned cash in an upgrade. The purpose then I suppose, with this new series of blogs, is to discuss these things and share our experience.

And as I mentioned routers a couple of paragraphs back, my next post in this series will be about exactly that. 

Welcome to The Pleasure Dome

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