Those simpler times.....

Ya' know, it's kinda funny. We're all spending a great deal of time concerned about tables, arms, cartridges, phono stages, cables, impedance matching, amps, pre-amps, speakers, etc. etc. Whatever happened to the simpler times ?.....I am all of a sudden fondly remembering my first college dorm room system, freshman year, 1973. An all-in-one Panasonic receiver, 8-track tape player/recorder, and turntable, with matching speakers. I think I paid all of $260 for the whole set-up (hard earned bucks, back then). I never even thought about my system. All I ever did was cue up the records.....Doobies, Allmans, Dead, Cat Stevens, Led Zep, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Loggins & Messina, Stevie Wonder, whatever.....and simply LOVED LISTENING TO THE MUSIC !!! No stress over all the stuff we seem to be stressing about today. Only the music mattered.

Don't get me's a lot of fun researching, buying, and enjoying all our "audiophile stuff," and I totally enjoy conversing with all you guys on these forums,.....but, do yourself a favor, grab one of your favorite old LP's, sit back, and think about those "simpler times." After all, isn't it all about the music ? Happy listening, my friends.
I totally agree with you on this. I grew up on records and no other medium takes me back to those times like vinyl. I really love the audiophile habits in general as well but you have to remember to stop fretting once in a while and just listen to those tunes you've always loved. That's why I don't completely get the threads about classic rock LPs sounding bad. They mostly sound good to me and it's what I like to hear. Is this the best version of Working Man's Dead I've ever heard? Who cares. I love this stuff.
I'm not much of a back-patter, but boy did you ever nail this thread. Anyone who tells me "Satisfaction" is not a great song because it is played on a Technics instead of a Linn is NOT a music lover. He/she is a lover of the endless hardware swap. And, yes, my lame high school system gave me infinitely more pleasure than any of the systems that followed. Why? Simpler, less worry, and the music of the 1960s was the sweet spot.
Hey Sonofjim......You're so right. Workingman's Dead and American Beauty.....Wow, the original Warner Brothers pressings..... Casey Jones, Dire Wolf, Ripple, and Sugar Magnolia.....those were the good old days.
I would move to a log cabin in the mountains and live with no luxuries or modern conveniences...except my system and music has to come with me. And I'm not willing to downgrade either.....
Yes, it's hard to go back (system-wise), but at the same time, I agree with everyone on this thread.

If my hi-fi can't convey the passion and emotion embodied in American Beauty, Live Dead, and Bless It's Pointed Little Head (listen to Grace sing "Bear Melt"), then there's something seriously wrong, and it's not about dollars spent.

I've gotten this out of $500 rigs as well as $50,000 rigs, as well as failing to get it out of much more expensive ones.

Thom @ Galibier
I truly think it's more a matter of perspective than anything else.

As music lovers, we enjoy music and simply didn't know enough to be critical of the equipment/recordings earlier on. Since we have learned more, we HAVE acheived better sound, but also an ability to be critical of our systems weaknesses.

As Lindisfarne said, he got more pleasure out of his high school system than any since, but I'll bet if he had that same system now he wouldn't be so pleased.

What do they say? .....Ignorance is bliss.
This is a nice discussion...... Please don't get me wrong.....I love my present system, and am in no way suggesting that we go back to our audio systems of "those simpler times." Heck, after living with my Rogue tubes and Vandersteen speakers, my ears, mind, and heart are extremely happy. Our shared audiophile hobby is terrific, and long may we wave !!

My point is that every once in a while we should take stock of where we are, and where we once were, in terms of our systems. As phenomenal as all our gear sounds now, let's not forget "those simpler times," when only the music mattered. Let's all remember why we enjoy our hobby as much as we's the music !!!
Stay well, my friends, and Happy Listening !!!
Reading your post was like reading my own thoughts. My freshman year was the same as yours and I too had a simple system, minus the 8-track. What were you thinking? :) The music was paramount. The equipment didn't seem to matter. And I think that's what underlines the post. People get so caught up in the equipment that they forget what the equipment is for.
"As Lindisfarne said, he got more pleasure out of his high school system than any since, but I'll bet if he had that same system now he wouldn't be so pleased."

We are over 40, our ears and hearing have undoubtedly changed as well plus we are more seasoned listeners.

However, if I had to, I think I am smarter about things now and I could set my old college system up again today if I could much more effectively than I knew how to do back then. Plus, I still have the speakers (refurbished and custom upgraded) and they are still in limited use.

I also still have some pop/rock cassette recordings that I recorded on that system from vinyl using a gorgeous vintage Philips 312 turntable (look it up, its a classic) that sound halfway decent on my current system. The only major issues I hear are of course tape hiss from the cassette a touch of brightness with dolby off that can be adjusted for, and perhaps less dynamic range than would be desired. I've recorded a few of these to CD and played them in the car for my sounds as good or better than many commercial CD issues there (who cares about a little tape hiss in a moving vehicle?).

Probably would need a power conditioner and decent interconnects still though to be satisfied (I used standard issue RCA interconnects back then, a sign of my ignorance in youth).
"As phenomenal as all our gear sounds now, let's not forget "those simpler times," when only the music mattered. Let's all remember why we enjoy our hobby as much as we's the music !!!"

I remember listening to all of this music with friends back then and we picked it apart mercilessly. Picked it clean to the bones like vultures. Are the lyrics any good? Are there any new sounds? Are the sonics any good? Is this LP as good as their last one? No matter what we decided we still listened to the songs over and over with a few exceptions. This is still the music I listen to mostly and I still have a tendency to pick it apart. Except that now I can afford much, much better equipment so I am constantly re-discovering LPs I've known for years. Most sound even better now than I remember at that is due to the quality of my system components. However, there are a few that don't get spun as much because I can now hear the pigs in the background.

I guess I'm saying that I'm still living the simpler times, but with a much better system to listen with. It has always been about the music and how to get the components to get closer to the music. Some days I just want to hear the music so I'll pull out whatever strikes my fancy. Other days I want to hear what my system does with a particular LP. I don't really think I've changed at all. But my system sure has! ;-)
Dan_Ed said:

"I am constantly re-discovering LPs I've known for years. Most sound even better now than I remember at that is due to the quality of my system components."

Simpler times in audio ended when I was about 15, heard a reel to reel deck in a nice system, wasn't going back to no damn clock or transistor radio! This was the 70's.

In about 1973 I encountered my first audiophile, he had a pretty much all Dynaco system with Thorens tt (later a Linn LP12). Wow, now I could really hear my favorite rock recordings, almost like live to me. It wasn't long before I had pretty much the exact same system.

My audiophile bud and I were also very much into the concert scene at that time, at least one concert a week on the Ann Arbor/Detroit circuit. Live music was simply awesome, especially in the smaller venues. Hard rockin' bands were the scene around here, Rationals, MC5, Stooges, Iguanas, Up, SRC. Being audiophiles, and seeing so many of these bands (and the nationally touring bands) live, certainly helped to create an obsession with higher quality audio at home.

Anyway, I can't remember a time where audio quality and love of music didn't go together. Yeah, I listened to clock radios, our big Magnavox console and transitor radios, but I never got close to the music until I started attending concerts and/or hearing my friend's Dynaco system.

A recent return to vinyl has required me to listen analytically once again. I just don't know another way of listening that allows me to ascertain sonic deficiencies, and make changes needed for musical enjoyment. Yeah, I wish I could just put any old equipment in my system and enjoy it, audio life would certainly be easier. I just don't think there's any bringing simpler times back once you've been bitten by the audiophile bug. I would like to meet just one reformed audioholic!

I also think that some of our thinking about simpler times is fond reminiscing, we are romanticizing the past. I recall the zeitgeist of those times, there was a feeling in the air that was totally exhilarating! I wish I could reproduce those feelings today, unfortunately, those times are gone, no bringing em back, no matter how hard I try. I suspect many of us are trying to evoke those old feelings when we play these records.
I remember lying on my bed and listening to a suitcase system, the ones where you had to disconnect the speakers and place them on either side of the room and the main body of the case was where the amp and turntable was. This was about 1967, and the main thing I remember was that the lyrics were the most important thing, it was the message that the Doors and Jefferson Airplane and Country Joe and the Fish were sending to us, that we were a special generation and we were going to change the world! Well that lasted for about 10 min. and then we were boogying on the dance floor to the sounds of Disco snorting mass quantities of white stuff and all of a sudden Bass mattered and subwoofers were born. But the sound of that suitcase system was all I needed in 65'
Reminiscing about simpler times is of course not a phenomena limited to audio systems. I think more and more people are starting to become overwhelmed by technology and how it often intrudes or is forcefully injected into their lives in unwanted ways.

Still, everyone has some technology out there that serves them so well that they could never give it up. That need is what fuels the continuous evolution of technology and the services (or disservices) that it delivers.

The technology that goes into our sound systems is surely the one technology that true music lovers could not live without. In some cases, the technology itself can easily become an obsession as well.

So what's wrong with that? It's an honest hobby. Between music and the technology that goes into capturing and reproducing it, there is much to learn and think about. And it is a constructive, positive thing in most cases I would think.

There are surely many things we could spend our time otherwise that is far worse.

Plus, we may all be obsessive nut cases at heart, but that's besides the point. Nobody forces us to spend our time with the hobbies we chose.
I was thinking about this same thing lately. In the 70's I blew nearly all my summer job college money on my first upgrade ... went from a Denon one-box "component" set-up to a Marantz 1060 integrated, Thorens TT, and Advent speakers. Speaker wire? Didn't think about it. Just clear jacketed unterminated garden variety wire. Interconnects... what?

But the music. At the time, I felt like that was a killer system! Even took it to do sounds for a good sized dance hall disco happenin'. Like most have said, I just enjoyed listening to music and never thinking about my equipment. It was R&B, rock, funk, and jazz all the time ... with a little space left for school. Yes, those were definitely simpler times.
I loved those simple times too. I remember the times I got drunk and would wake up without a hangover.
I remember the days when I could eat anything and did. Great food and wine was wasted on me.
I remember the dating scene. A little kissing, lots of sex, no demands, no diseases. Wow was that great! Every day had so much potential for new experiences.
I remember the music (not 'audio)' in those days - all live, or over a portable radio.

Then one day I got a home audio system and I discoved 'imaging'.
I got married and found out I had to work.
I had kids and had to raise them.
And sex, well I guess there is still no issue with diseases anyway.

Getting old is really a drag - about the only thing that has gotten better is my audio system, and that is in direct relationship to my ability to listen thru the audiophile aspects to actually focus on musical content. Hard to whistle and chew gum at the same time!

Here comes the grim reaper now. I best hide.
You guys are wonderful !!! .....I am so glad I started this thread. Let's keep it going. Please feel free to "philosophize and ramble." Mapman,'ve been bringing up some terrific points. Newbee,....great thoughts. Everybody,.....Excellent ideas !!

I think I'll now go down to my music room, put "The Allman Brothers Live at Filmore East" (one my my favorite all-time albums, bought when I was a college freshman in 1973) onto the turntable of my modern day audiophile system, and enjoy the great tunes. Duane and Dicky, a summer afternoon with a cold beer, and memories of "those simpler times" while enjoying the modern technology of our wonderful audiophile hobby.....Pretty perfect !!

Stay well, my friends, Enjoy the tunes, and Happy Listening !!
Once in college I provided the music for an outdoor Halloween party out in the boonies on a farm in Western Kentucky. I set my system (cassette tapes and vinyl only in those days) up on the front porch of the farmhouse facing the main activities occurring in a field about 80 yards off and cranked it up.

Hey now, was that MY system I was hearing? The sound projecting out from that porch into the crisp dark night was INCREDIBLE!! My system had never sounded better. Of course I had never set it up outdoors before. What a revelation! Neil Young, UB40, Bob Marley, The Pretenders, Talking Heads...sounded like they were all performing LIVE on that porch that night!

The core of that system was a Tandberg TR-2080 receiver and a pair of original 80's vintage Ohm Walsh 2s.
In high school we listed to music on casettes on a boom box and it was great. Now I get cross everytime a piece of lint stuck on my stylus. Still, when its working right it really sounds sweet.
My compliments to Adam18 for getting this topic opened and aired.
I agree that we seem to be standing too close to the painting these days. We may not get the proper perspective anymore on a lot of this stuff. The recording engineers of the day were designing their masterpieces for a more distant perspective than our high powered microscopes are giving us today. Sometimes when I listen to a recording from the 1960s, I wonder if the artist ever heard it as clearly as I now can.
Those "simpler times" started the journey and the journey continues to this day. That's the beauty of being a music lover, always looking to extract more of the music from whatever media we listen to.
I, like everyone here started out with a modest system (in the early 70's) and loved the way music sounded. Now that I've aged I enjoy and appreciate music even more but the old days were indeed fantastic and full of fond memories.
I agree that "simpler" times have a special appeal to me and not to rain on any parades but the times of which we speak may have seemed simpler to us because of where we were in our lives. The "adults" of the 60s and 70s had plenty of big problems to worry about. Some of them were even bigger than the ones we face today. Still, it's nice to escape to that state of mind. The human mind has a wonderful way of remembering things in a candy coated way. I think that's for our own good.