Audio gear, sonic quality when you listen in less (or non-) focused ways

I'm wondering about how folks listen to their audio, and to what degree the quality of the sound is important, or, perhaps how it differs.

Here are four kinds of listening I can think of. (Did I miss any?)

FL - Focused listening -- sitting at focal point, concentrating on music and/or acoustic qualities.

SFL - Semi-focused listening -- listening is the central but not only activity (sitting in front of audio, listening but also reading, playing games, emailing, etc.)

CL - Casual listening -- listening to music but also involved in equally important tasks (cooking, doing dishes, laundry, etc.)

AL - Accidental listening -- music is on but it is in the background, mostly (music at party, just on for ambience)

For the kinds of listening other than FL, what do hope your audio gear can produce? What kinds of tonalities, soundstage, lows/mids/highs, transient response, dynamics, etc. does it need to produce? Are there other things that this gear needs to do that is different than your main rig? How good does the sound need to be? (In other words, how cheap a solution are you willing to get away with for those other kinds of listening? What do you use?)


I took music lessons from age 10 to age 18.  My listening is always focused. 

If the system is good enough for FL then it should be perfectly fine for everything else.  I find it interesting that sometimes during accidental listening or casual listening to hear  more subtle or less obvious portions of the music that I might not necessarily notice or appreciate during a FL session.

My gear standard produces e full, rich, natural sound that sounds good at any volume and under any circumstances... Such standards are achievable for not much money. This is why a speaker like the Epi 100 is such a timeless classic: it’s a rich, full, dispersive speaker that is easy to place, easy to listen to, sounds great at low volumes and high, still sounds good from anywhere in the room,, and that nevertheless does have the imaging, etc., that is important to focused listening as well... a speaker to live with, which is hard to go without once you have it.

I can’t stand products that have to be a certain volume or you have to sit so precisely, picky products, finicky products... that’s not how I live, and it’s not how actual music lives either.