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November 2016
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
It's Never Over Until It's Over; And It's Never Over!
Roger Skoff tells an important truth about our hobby.
Article By Roger Skoff



  One of the basic principles that 1960s student revolutionary and environmental activist Abby Hoffman was said to have set forth for college radicals seeking to overthrow "the Establishment" was "Always create your movement to attack a problem that can never be solved." That may sound a little odd – or even a little self-defeating -- until you stop to consider that, if you ever could solve its driving problem, your movement, rebellion, or uprising would lose its purpose; your organization would no longer be necessary; your own role as leader would be lost; and, if you wanted to keep on enjoying whatever power, notoriety, or other benefits you had had, you'd just have to go find another problem.

It's exactly the same with hobbies; there are (at least) two absolute requirements for a good hobby: It must be able to accept and provide satisfaction from as much or as little of whatever it is that you want to put into it (time, money, effort, emotional commitment, etc.) as will please you and it must never, ever be finished.

The reasons for this are simple: As for time, money, effort, or whatever, if it won't take all of what you want to devote to it, you'll quickly become bored and turn to something else to take (at first, whatever is left over, and then ultimately all of) whatever you want to give. And if it won't take as little as you want to give, either it's demands will ultimately drive you away, or you'll just set it aside "until you can afford it" and may, because it is so demanding, never go back to it again.

As to "finishing" your hobby, that's just the same as what Abbie 'Hoffman said about revolutionaries and problems: if you ever finish it, you'll just have to find something else to devote yourself to, so any hobby that can ever be finished isn't really very much of a hobby at all.



Now, here comes the good part: Whether your hobby is the music, the equipment you play it on, or some combination of both, you're safe: There will always be another performance of your favorite classical piece to buy or listen to (I've got 11 Shostakovich 15th symphonies thus far, nearly two dozen Vivaldi "Four Seasons", and bunches of other "multiples"); there will always be another "cover" or "re-release" of your favorite "pop" song; and there will always be another "OMG you can't believe how real it sounds!" audiophile recording to get your juices flowing. There will also always be some new speakers or piece of gear, or even some entirely new technology to get excited about; to add or switch over to; and to spend time "dickin' and dialin'" to get just right. If you doubt what I just said, think about how many new technological advances or even whole new ways of doing thing have appeared or been added just since 1982, when the first CDs were introduced: Here's a hint: HDCD, SACD, Blue-ray, DVD, MP3,"streaming", and on and on, and, if you'd like, (FUN!), you can run right out and put together a whole new library of recordings for each one!

Certainly that ought to be enough to keep you interested and active, but if it's not, you can always buy some new gear or re-arrange your system to see if it sounds better: Is it on the long wall now? What would it sound like if you set it up across the short one? Or what if you changed the spacing or the angles of the speakers? Or moved them a little closer to, or farther away from the back wall? There are any number things you can do to change and (possibly) improve the acoustics of your listening room. Have you done them? Did they work?



If "room diddling" doesn't appeal to you or you have a wife who looks askance at such things, you can try a "power conditioner" – anything from one of the filters that are offered for that purpose to one of the kind that takes the current out of the wall, converts it to DC and then re-converts it to "perfect", "100% noise-free" AC – and there are any number of other changes – "tweaks" -- that you can try to make your system sound better: New cables, new power cords, new "Hard" feet (spikes or cones, or even actual glass, concrete, or masonry blocks) that you can try setting your equipment on if you're now using "soft " ones, or new "soft" ones (rubber, cork, Sorbothane, or whatever else) if the hard ones you have now don't tickle your fancy. You can also try using cable lifters for your speaker cables or any of your other cables s that might be coming in contact with the floor, and, along that same line, you can try some Mpingo discs, cable wraps, or any of the various stick-'em-to-your-stuff -or- at-various-places-around-the-room "mystery dealies" that have been available from time to time from various sources. You can even get a pair of the very trick, very expensive, and – as John Curl and I and the Editor of at least one of the top hi-fi magazines all agree – very effective, Sopranino super-duper-tweeters from ENIGMAcoustics that, by playing frequencies up into the range that mere humans can't hear, but that have bats' toes curling, make everything sound definitely more "real".

Finally, you can, one at a time, undo all of the changes you've made, to see if your system sounds better or worse. You think I'm kidding? Don't. There are plenty of products out there (and I suspect that we've likely all tried at least one or two of them) that make your system sound better TWICE: Once when you put them in, and once when you take them back out again!



As to why that might be, I have no idea: Maybe our tastes and preferences change with the passage of time; maybe we've made some other change that made that thing that was once an improvement no longer one; maybe it all has something to do with "Climate Change" or the phase of the moon. Whatever it is, it is; and taking the old one-time goodie out of the system will make just as much improvement as it did when you first put it in.

See? Our library or our system will never be finished; there will always be something that we can buy or do or un-do that will keep our hobby fresh and alive for us and keep us interested and involved with it. So stop worrying, put some music on the system, sit back, relax, close your eyes, and...

Enjoy the music!














































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