As I look out my office window I see tufts of melted snow, bare trees, a busy highway of squirrel traffic gathering whatever it is they store for the winter, and our cute, red, neighborhood fox keeping those same squirrels from overrunning the place.
It is fall and soon to be winter.
That’s the perfect time for me to run through Music Room Two and Three and change out all the tubes in the BHK amps and preamps. I use the cold of fall as a reminder to swap out the year-old vacuum tubes for new fresh ones.
Over time, vacuum tubes tend to lose some of their life, vim, and vigor. It’s a slow loss, one you don’t notice until a year has passed.
The fun of upgrading the tubes comes with the first listen. Wow! Time to go through all that new music you accumulated over the summer and relisten with the new fire bottles in place.
If you have tubes in your equipment, it might be worth thinking about changing them out for a fresh pair.
Fall is Tube Time!
The myth of Golden Ears
We probably all know someone we consider to have golden ears. A person with hearing so acute they can pass judgment on recordings and stereo systems in microseconds. And they’re almost always correct.
Yet, does the term apply only to people with anatomically perfect appendages?
It doesn’t take a lot of thought to answer that question. No, of course not. There is no perfect ear. Everyone’s ears are different. None are better than any others at the task (though some are severely disadvantaged should they be compromised).
What we can say with some measure of accuracy is that some listeners are better trained than others. That people with a lot of exposure to the sound of live instruments, or training to pay close attention to small details, or those who have developed advanced abilities to capture, retain, and compare, are all closer to the ideal of a golden ear.
The gold in the ears is earned.
In the same way most of us can train ourselves to have perfect pitch, we can also learn how to be better listeners.
You can earn the title of Golden Ear for yourself. It just takes desire, a bit of work, and the knowledge that it’s a learned skill.
Go get golden!