This image with an iPod installed in the plinth of a seemingly high-end turntable made me chuckle, and inspired this post. Anyone reading this blog would think I’m an “analog snob”, but the truth is I like every format for what it offers and seek to find the best in each.
Sure… when I sit down in front of my speakers in the sweet spot, turn off the lights, and settle in for a full-immersion audio experience I nearly always go for vinyl and an all-analogue signal path. It’s funny how I never mind getting up, cleaning records, flipping through albums on the shelf, cleaning the stylus, etc. when that’s all I’m up to. Sitting down for a full-immersion music listening session is not a time for multi-tasking anyway. It’s one thing at a time and when the needle is tracking the groove all the digital devices are off, including the laptop computer I’m writing this on now as I listen to music.
“Wait a sec,” you may say… “I thought you were describing dedicated music listening sessions?” Truth is I typically play high-def digital files off my music server to warm up my amps and my ears. Yes, I find my ears need a good warm up as well, or maybe it just takes a while to shut off my mind to focus entirely on the music. The music server is great for these purposes, and sometimes I even do my full-immersion listening from some of the better high definition digital recordings I have there, just as I do when I drop the needle on a nice slab of vinyl.
But… Fact is I love listening to music and like to enJoy it most of the time, doing what ever I may be up to. So when driving I’m listening to CDs or MP3s from a collection of over 5,000 on a hard-wired iPod. Great sound quality?… Definitely not. But hey, I’m driving and I’m not about to go for full immersion listening (i.e. lights off, eyes closed) anyway. I also love listening to music while engaged in just about every sport I do (with the exception of free diving) with a pair of ear buds, or helmet speakers in the case of downhill mountain biking, snow boarding, or snow kiting. Amazing really, how we can have our own personal music collection accessible to us nearly anytime, anywhere. Now try that with records. Guess what, Chrysler did! (for a car stereo anyway)