For those that know what it takes to have the ultimate audio (and video) setup for their experience, much time, money, research, and fine-tuning is done to have the system that they are happy with and wholeheartedly enjoying. For those that are new to making their best setup, there are basic things that one would need to start:
- DAC (Digital Audio Converters) & Amplifier(s)
- Source Media (IE a computer with files, or physical media such as Blu-Ray or Vinyl)
- the necessary cords in between
Then there are things that for the truly dedicated (and loaded), such as premium USB wires, power conditioners, monoblock amps, soundproofing room, that may be important to you too. But there is one thing that we can neglect in the whole plan to make our best experience, something that may be taked for granted when honeing your setup:
Why do you say that? Because after reading on many forums, blogs, and seeing in Audiophile trade-shows, many care about how their setup sounds, but not what gets played through for enjoyment. Many fervor over up to the minute details for their setup: how quiet their computer playing back the files are, is the premium wires are showing and neatly aligned, does speaker A sound better than speaker B, are the sound diffusers placed correctly, are the headphones properly burned-in, etc. But what of all that when you are playing back mp3s, or playing back music that is in Hi-Res but you honestly don’t care for?
In the recording world, the main part of the recording process is the musicianship and the audio engineer’s ability (yes right at the beginning). So when it comes to audio listening, the source material is most important. Quality of source (resolution, clean masters) as well as the actual music (not sloppy or amateur recordings, music that you actually want to listen over and over) will make you want to listen over the quality and price-point of your electronic components.
Music, not just sound, is Important!
I remember from a trade show earlier this year I posted about, there were two older dudes that came in to the room I was manning. As the only room that had any events on that floor, they came into the room and listened to our products we were offering (being a Music Label rather than a Speaker Manufacturer). One of them said that he was relieved that our room actually played music, instead of noise. He and his buddy went on about how the speaker rooms only played “audio” that showed the dynamic range and capabilities of the said speakers and amps, but it was not music you would want to hear often. Hearing your favorite music is the main reason why many go about and upgrade their systems.
I like music, maybe not all music, but I like listening to music. I want the best quality of music that I can find, and not settle for mp3s. I listen to a lot of video game and Anime music. I want the best quality available, even if that quality is CDs only. I interned and worked at a Hi-Res Studio where I was presented the difference with audio quality.
I sought to see if there was better audio resolutions for music that was not classical, jazz, acoustic, classic records, and the like (I do listen and appreciate those genres and the best albums offered, but to be honest with myself I really listen to anime, video game, doujin, Vocaloid, and the like music 90% of the time). I have bought music and did my own simple ABX tests between mp3s/aac and Hi-Res, and I really love how the Hi-Res moves me, motivates me, makes me feel the whole atmosphere of sound I perceive.
Look, if you are perfectly fine listening to mp3s through your iPod on your Beats headphones, that’s like your opinion, man. But I want the quality in every step of my listening experience:
- Hi-Res Files
- Quality Speakers and Headphones
- Good DACs
- An amplifier to sweeten the sounds
- Comfortable chair/couch/bed to be in the music
- Being by myself or with friends who also appreciate quality
Aim for the best as much and as best as you can, I’ll help you point in the right direction.