This month, as we stumble headlong toward both the
Munich High End show and our 100th issue, I've temporarily taken more of a
back seat in the review haul. This is in part to reacquaint myself with the
passion of music. Getting paid to listen to music all day is not exactly the
toughest job in the world, but if your music is constantly used to assess the
performance of pieces of audio equipment, you run the risk of being unable to
switch off ‘work mode' listening. By taking a short break from writing
about products, I've already rediscovered my musical happy place.
It's something we rarely write about, but the importance
of taking a musical break from time to time is a vital part of being a music
lover, especially a music lover who's also fond of tinkering with bits of
audio equipment. Spend too many hours listening to the same few test tracks
over and over again can wipe out the enjoyment that is the reason why we all
started buying bits of audio equipment.
The great advantage of audiophile single-mindedness is if
you want to know which version of Ravel's Bolero is best (or which cartridge
is best to play it on) that attention to detail is a good thing. But, the
constant fidgeting and adjustment to a system that worked perfectly well
before you started tinkering with it is a sure sign of audiophilia nervosa.
As such, I am currently deliberately limiting myself to one
album a day. A rise and shine diet of music I've either not had a chance to
listen to or haven't heard in years. None of it is 'work' music, either.
None of it will be used in reviews (and no, that doesn't mean I'm
listening to Sinetta or Max Bygraves albums). It's just ‘me' time. A
chance to listen to music unencumbered by deadlines, note-taking, critical
listening or fiddling with something.
And it's great. I think it's something every audiophile
should do every few years. Turn off the big system and just play music simply,
cheaply and for the sheer fun of things and discover new musical interests.
Reset your listening levels. Try it for yourself.
Hi-Fi Plus is
fast approaching something of a landmark – its 100th issue. And we'd
like you to be involved; we'd like you to tell us about your hi-fi high
points of the last 14 years. Of course, if they happen to involve Hi-Fi
Plus, all the better! Send your anecdotes and recollections to
firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll even print the ones that won't end up with
Alan Sircom, Editor Hi-Fi+