Getting into the music

I’ve found, to my dismay, that it’s very difficult for me to listen to music for the music itself these days. Since I got into this audiophile game many years ago, little by little my musical appreciation has eroded to the point that I find it very hard  to comprehend the music itself if it doesn’t sound good.  Too often I’m listening for sonic delights rather than the message the composer is trying to convey. I find myself going from composition to composition looking for audio niceties. When something sounds good I can then begin to get into what the composer is saying. 
As a former musician, this would have been unthinkable years ago.  Music was everything to me.


I feel and think I've hit my personal 'ceiling' (prior to an all-out 'face plant' *L*) on audio accouterments beyond my diy driver diddling.....*waves white flag with odd glyph*....

I can listen to nearly anything I care to and enjoy how it's being rendered by the choice of what I have to render it.

I've established a personal 'baseline' of the means to do so in the equipment at hand; the cables, the ic's, the various 'n sundry....

Not SOTA, by any means, but 'SORTA'....i.e., enough.

I could and can mess with room acoustics, the eq, the occasional swap of one item for another when the muse rises from coma and demands a trigger-pull on X to replace Z....and leaving Y untouched...(pun intended)....

Case in pointless...

If I can listen to 417hz monk 'ohms', segue into The Prodigy live in Moscow, chill with some AON for awhile.....and sleep soundly and soundless.....(I don't dream much, and they're usually sans soundtrack anyway....)

I'm good.*S*

I'll just kibitz at the clan....

Spouse and self are looking forward to an entire Thanksgiving week to ourselves; the employs asked to have the entire following week off...on their own dime, except for the normal holidaze pay....

Y'all enjoy yours as well...'ciao, J


  1. Diversify Your Listening: Explore a wide range of genres, artists, and musical styles. This can help break the pattern of focusing solely on sonic qualities and allow you to appreciate the diversity of musical expression.

  2. Live Performances: Attend live performances or listen to live recordings. The immediacy and authenticity of a live experience can often bring back the emotional connection to the music.

  3. Purposeful Listening: Set aside dedicated time for critical listening where your primary focus is on the musical content rather than the audio quality. Choose recordings that are known for their artistic merit rather than just their sonic qualities.

  4. Balanced Approach: Strike a balance between enjoying high-quality audio reproduction and appreciating the intrinsic value of the music. It's possible to have both a great sound system and a deep appreciation for the artistic message of the music.

  5. Mindfulness: Be mindful of your listening habits. If you catch yourself solely focusing on the audio nuances, consciously redirect your attention to the musical elements and emotional content.

@rvpiano This comment caught my attention:

Then, when I listen to my main system, I’m somehow expecting better than I perceive it to be and I’m back in hyper-critical mode once more. It’s frustrating.

There’s a phenomenon called the "uncanny valley." It was invented, originally about robots, but I think it applies here. With robots (via Wikipedia):

"as the appearance of a robot is made more human, some observers’ emotional response to the robot becomes increasingly positive and empathetic, until it reaches a point beyond which the response quickly becomes strong revulsion. However, as the robot’s appearance continues to become less distinguishable from a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once again and approaches human-to-human empathy levels."

I suspect this is happening with music, as relayed in these posts.

Music goes from being very unlike live music (e.g. crude but lovable) to being close but not close enough (e.g. in expensive or elaborate systems).

When music reproduction is "close to live music but conspicuously lacking" our attention is fixated upon the sound, on the sonic flaws. And that distracts from the music. It would be like reading a text in an elaborate font. You can tell what it says, but the font is so distracting you wind up fixating on the letters.

If this description applies to your musical experiences, then the goal is to find the "good enough" rig, which many seem to be pointing to, here. This would include "good enough" room acoustics.

In short, you need to stay out of the "uncanny valley" of sound. Just before it, I'd say.