How do you listen to yours

A mate of mine came round and found it weird that I just switch the telly off and practically stare at my system and just listen.

Got me thinking, how do others listen…be it critical (searching for somewhere to improve) or just chilling, with the TV on mute etc.

Perhaps you read a book, the paper, have it on in the background and clean.

How do you eat yours?

That’s a complicated question to answer as we all listen in different ways. A lot of people find the sound level from even a really good h-fi system too loud as they have probably never heard a symphony orchestra in full flight. A rock group has no “right” volume as its usually amplified.
I have long given up on offering a demo of my kit to even frequent visitors. Perhaps I have the wrong sort of friends, but most preople are just not that interested.
Well, that’s their problem.
I have a friend with an LP12 who thinks the ultimate non distraction is to listen to music with the lights out. He has a point.
The first isue is you need to meet it at least halfway. Which means you really want to hear some music which is what it’s all about. Yes, put it on as a distraction but it won’t be the same. If you want a hi-fi fix, much the same.
Also, listening when overtired or after a good argument is not wise.
On the other hand a new LP/CD which you just put on from the postman can hit the musical spot. Sometimes.
My regular morning stint is BBC R3 at a modest sound level with the TV picture on with CV-19 updates. Common sense says “one or the other”, not both.
I think all forum readers will listen in differnt ways and nothing wrong with that. It helps but you don’t need a hi-fi system to get the music. It certainly helps though.


I rarely listen with a critical ear. More often than not music is in the background. Certainly I read with it on, but rarely with the TV on, except with a sub-titled film.

If I’m really listening, as opposed to background while waking up, reading, cooking or whatever, the best is with lights out and as few distractions as possible. With the right recording and performance, it can be transformative (something increasingly important now).

1 Like

My point exactly squire…I like a vodka in my hand, remote in the other. And I like to flick for new music, like others look for box sets. Sometimes I find a new gem…sometimes I listen to the first episode and decide it’s tosh.

Same if I have my good stuff on, vodka and a good singalong/air drums/air guitar.

Just wondered if I was the only one staring, getting lost and thinking…sometimes about the lyrics…sometimes wether superman could take Mighty Mouse in a fight!!

Never ever in the background.

Even in the car??

I can’t drive but we alternate who chooses the music and whether we have any in place of conversation. When we choose to have music there is no conversation so “yes” it’s a foreground activity not a background one.

1 Like

That’s hardcore my friend. Qudos to you…I actually like a bit of Radio 2 (or 6 music) in the car

FYI I don’t have a Bentley…still would love to sit in one and have a listen.

(If there is anyone who does…feel free to drive to York and I’ll show you the sights…whilst listening to your car system)

My mate has a Bentley jeep type thing…he didn’t add the Naim system

We do not have a TV in our family room where the sound system is so we are left to stare into space while the music is playing. Seriously, I do a lot of reading, a book or the iPad, while I intentionally seat on the side away from the sweet spot.

There’s a current thread on “serious listening”. It may be worth reading that - so of the same ground covered.

I don’t understand how anyone can listen to music and watch TV at same time (unless it is a video recording of music playing). Maybe the person finding that odd is symptomatic of a generation with zero attention span, brought up on TV with picture in picture and a text line streaming something else across the bottom, and any article longer than 100 words is too long to cope with… My TV is in a different room from the hifi. In front of me when listening to music is a large window, or a blind covering it. The blind is also a projector screen (12ft wide), and sometimes I may play a video recording of performance on that, like today watching Aida.

I will sometimes put music on when doing something else in the hifi room, such as sitting at a desk in a back corner working on something or repairing something.

1 Like

I think we share the same friends.

A perfect compromise for me is to watch a classical music concert on my 50" TV from a blu-ray disc played on the OPPO player with the sound through the Naim system. I like to see how various instruments are used to create the sonic effects. There are some Mahler blu-ray discs which make me both listen and watch.

It varies, most of the time i have the music on and i’m on my laptop browsing or on a forum like now (and right now Fischer Z is playing)
Sometimes i sit in my sweetspot and listen with my eyes closed.
I’ve had times when i listened at night on a low volume when it was quiet. My kids were small then so they made noise during the daytime :slight_smile:

I have a big screen between the system and enjoy the added insight on soundtracks, voice and atmosphere.
When it’s off and just listening to music it takes a little while to get my ears in. In as much that the music isn’t so middle centred as speech from what’s watched. An opening up of the soundstage.

Then a little more time to get my eye in. I have a fairly good imagination, and find that I’m not looking so much at the system but at the elements going on within the music. Much like that 1000 yard stare. Dissociation from what’s really in front of me, yet emotionally connected in a visual sense to the music.

Those times when it goes further by closing my eyes or with the lights low, I find it doesn’t take long before nodding off. Not helpful if playing a record and having the needle play that last bit for several hours before you wake up !

One thing to which I didn’t refer in my previous post was sound levels. Generally I like to listen at what I consider to be ‘realistic’ levels - i.e similar to that experienced in a good seat in a concert hall. With full orchestral music and with rock music that is quite loud - too loud for conversation - not that I would be conversing while listening, but if someone comes into the room to ask me something they have to come right round to me. My wife tells me it is too loud. My reply is pardon. I can’t hear you!

Of course, although I enjoy at realistic levels, in practice out of respect for my ears I only play rock music at truly realistic levels for short periods - otherwise somewhat lower.

We have hifi in the lounge with the TV in another room. The hifi is currently set up so I can see the garden through the glass door onto the patio. The garden is reaching its spring peak so can be distracting, but with the lovely weather we’re having at the moment I’m mostly listening in the evening with curtains closed.

For classical in particular I try to avoid doing anything else whilst listening but using an iPad as controller it’s tempting to use it to find more info about the music. Can’t always resist.


I often have music on a lowish volumes when doing something else (reading, working etc…). When my wife is away, I blast it and concentrate on the music, staring in space :slight_smile:

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.