Home  |  Audio Reviews  Show Reports   Partner Mags  News 

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Sound Practices Magazine Online!
Sound Practices Magazine Online!
The Age Of Hyperreality

Editorial From Sound Practices Issue 11

 

Sound Practices Issue 11

 In a nearly incomprehensible essay about our slow and steady drift away from reality as we knew it towards a fragmentary, unrooted, "virtual" existence, the post modernist Baudrillard observes that the deep problems of high-fidelity audio illuminate and embody the core principles of a universal crisis of being in the contemporary world.

Baudrillard outlines a "stereophonic" model of social practice and argues that we have moved beyond old-fashioned cause and effect related history into a non-linear quasi-reality grounded only in simulation, the powerful legacy of modern communication technology and the profound capacities for re-production that our wondrous machines provide.

He uses hi-fi as a metaphor to illustrate how we have gone beyond the "vanishing point" into the era of news over direct experience, digitally created collaborations over live ensemble playing, the triumph of represented experience, in all aspects of life.

 

"We are all obsessed with high fidelity, with the quality of musical 'reproduction'. At the consoles of our stereos, armed with our tuners, amplifiers and speakers, we mix, adjust settings, multiply tracks in pursuit of a flawless sound. Is this still music? Where is the high fidelity threshold beyond which music disappears as such? It does not disappear for lack of music but because it passed this limit point; it disappears into the perfection of its materiality, into its own special effect." -- from The Illusion of the End

 

Baudrillard argues that we now live in a "hyperreality" that is a by-product of exploding media sophistication and our increasing reliance on mediated input to construct what passes for real. Read audio magazines and note how we have developed parallel definitions of real sound that apply only to reproduced sound, without thinking it unnatural in the least to do so.

Under such circumstances, reality as we knew it in a more innocent age is a casualty of technology and our uses of it, erased along with the barriers that space and time used to present to sensory experience.

Now, that is a rather heady concept but I can relate to the general trends of the argument from the perspective of an audio hobbyist. We all recognize the distinction between music listening, even if it's "simulated" music, and just geeking out on audio for audio's sake. Both pursuits clearly have their attractions and rewards but they are different adventures. Audio maniacs often ignore the fact that they are not the same thing, let alone indications that hi-fi and music exist in a state of tension, such that one denies the other when you really get down to it. If a jazz master is playing solo piano in your living room, what do you need a stereo for? And if you have a perfect stereo, what use is live performance?

Although it is hardly worthwhile or productive to dwell obsessively on this metaphysical predicament, there is a threat that once we enter the domain of audiophillia, we can never listen to recorded music the same way again. Hi-fi music exists within its own system of reference, one where the answer to the question "Is it live or is it Memorex?" is always obvious yet we continue to ask it in hopes that someday we won't have a ready answer. We can fill in the gaps in reproduction partially with faith and desire, but live music only gets played that way once.

This discussion of the mental postures we adopt in listening reminds me of an interview with drum great Max Roach. Max related how jazz musicians can't help listening for certain things when listening to music. Max spoke as though musical civilians were blessed in their technical innocence while musicians are cursed with an involuntary analytical attitude that puts them into a working mode whenever the music plays. The thrill of music listening, according to Max, comes when you listen like a layman, an innocent, because then you can get truly involved in the "feeling of joy of music".

Sounds like the familiar "I, Reviewer" syndrome where obsession with sound overshadows the "feeling of music." The point is that it usually matters more how we're listening and why we're listening than what we're listening with. An obsessive focus on the musicological aspects of performance or the perceptual artifacts of reproduction technology virtually guarantees a non musical experience. In this day and age, we need all the joy of music we can get!

 

 

 

 

Note: Enjoy the Music.com highly encourages our readers to buy the Sound Practices CD filled with all 16 issues in high quality format from publisher/editor Joe Roberts' eBay store by clicking here. What is below is merely a small sampling of the many great articles within the CD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
Quick Links


Audiophile Review Magazine
High-End Audio Equipment Reviews

Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Preamplifiers
Amplifiers
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc

Superior Audio Archives
Ultra High-End Audio Reviews

Videos
Musician Series
Enjoy the Music.TV

Music Reviews
Classical Music
Jazz, Bluegrass, Blues, Etc.
Rock, Pop, Techno, Metal, Etc.

Columns
Editorials By Tom Lyle
Editorials By Steven R. Rochlin
Viewpoint By Roger Skoff
Audiolics Anonymous
Nearfield By Steven Stone
Various Think Pieces
Manufacturer Articles


Partner Magazines
The Absolute Sound
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
NOVO (CANADA HiFi)
hi-fi+ Magazine
HIFICRITIC
HiFi Media
Hi-Fi World
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine

Show Reports
CES 2017 Show Report Live Stream
TAVES 2016 Toronto Show Report
Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2016
CanJam 2016 Denver RMAF
Audio Engineering Society 141 LA
CanJam London 2016 Show Report
Hong Kong AV Show Report 2016
Capital Audiofest 2016
T.H.E. Show Newport 2016
High End Munich 2016 Report
AXPONA 2016 High-End Show
Montréal Salon Audio / Audio Fest
CTA CES 2016 Show Report
Click here for previous shows.

Resources And Information
Music Definitions
Hi-Fi Definitions
High-End Audio Manufacture Links

 


Daily Industry News

High-End Audio News & Information

Internet Browser
Audiophile Internet Browser V12

Mobile Phone Apps
Android Audiophile App

Other
Audiophile Contests
Cool Free Stuff For You
Tweaks For Your System
Vinyl Logos For LP Lovers
Lust Pages Visual Beauty
300B Tube Comparison

For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics

Contests & Join Our Mailing List

Our free newsletter for monthly updates & enter our contests!

Our Social Media & Video Channel
     

 

 

     

Home  |  Sitemap  |  Industry News  |  Equipment / Music Reviews  |  Press Releases  |  About Us  |  Contact Us

 

All contents copyright©  1995 - 2017  Enjoy the Music.com®
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.