Hearing what you want to hear
We sometimes front-load our expectations into what we believe people will say or what a stereo system should sound like. I can’t count the number of times I’ve walked into a room full of loudspeakers and prejudged their performance before the music started playing. Often, I am surprised, both pleasantly and otherwise.
The problem with preloaded expectations is we have to work past them to get to the core of what’s really there—yet, it’s often those very expectations that drove us to try something new in the first place.
When I am told what to expect from a piece of audio gear or new technology, the results can go one of two ways: I am happily rewarded or sadly disappointed. The problem with this process is we can often miss the underlying truth blurred by our preconceived notions.
It’s not always possible to audition new gear without the burden of expectations but, when we get the chance, it’s likely to give us a more honest result.
One of the more difficult choices when assembling a reference audio chain is answering the most basic of questions. What’s it for?
It’s rare we ask ourselves this basic question because few among us really think much beyond the desire to have great music in the home. And frankly, that’s just fine. Hi-Fi is a fun endeavor, not a life and death struggle.
Yet, if we find ourselves actually planning out our future direction for upgrades or beginning system building, it can sure make it easier if we have the time and patience to ask the right questions. If the system’s purpose is to extract every last ounce of information from the music, then our choices will move in one direction. If instead, we’re more interested in maximizing sonic excitement, we might take an entirely different course. And working towards perfection on both accounts yet another path.
Taking just a moment to ask yourself what’s it for, can often times save a whole bunch of time and money further down the line.