The Bartok I demoed in March was over a year old with many 100’s if not 1000’s of hours use. From the first moment it was the best sound I’ve ever heard. Took about 10 minutes to decide to buy. The dealer was nice enough to leave the demo unit with me while waiting for mine to arrive. For about a month I listened to the demo unit all day every day. In mid April, I received my Bartok and immediately installed it exactly as I had the demo unit. After letting it warm up for an hour playing music through headphones, I listened to it for the first time. My new Bartok was extremely disappointing. It sounded nothing like the demo unit. I kept playing music for over a week and listened to a bit along the way. After about 48 hours it started to sound really good and at around 100 hours I felt it sounded better than the demo. Prior to this experience, I didn’t believe burn in was so significant. Had I only a day long demo of a brand new Bartok I never would’ve purchased one.
The Bartok changed the way I viewed and listen to music. In fact it completely changed my tastes in music. Previously I primarily listened to modern classical, acoustic blues, some rock, and a bit of electronic music. While the Pacifica Shostakovich string quartet cycle, Muddy Waters’ Folk Singer, … brb
Ok I’m back…, where was I? Right…
… and every other album in my collection of “best sounding/favorite” across all my preferred genres sounded amazing; there was one album that, even though I’ve heard it many times prior, transcended the intellectual creating intense physical pleasure in my brain. It was like a neural orgasm.
My entire life, prior to Netflix, has been spent on intellectual pursuits with the exception of certain “biological imperatives”. Learning through reading, practicing, experimentation, conversing, and reflection; applying imagination to a creative process, and solving complex problems have always been extremely pleasurable. Nothing I’d experienced in the past even remotely compares to the sensation of this Bartok induced neurogasm. It’s almost as if a previously untapped portion of my brain were activated for the first time in my life. Something like an aural pleasure center that, when triggered, floods the brain with a “super dopamine”. The feeling is similar to hundreds of micro doses of heroin with a millisecond half life. This is not hyperbole.
[No I’ve never used heroin however I did for a time take a combination of prescription medicines that together, according to my physician, create a feeling very similar to heroin. This is why one of those medications is no longer prescribed in the US. So I think I have a reasonable idea what heroin feels like.]
Just say NO to drugs.
Don’t be a fool; stay in school.
So Bartok, for me, has set the bar at a level that I previously would’ve thought absurd.
That’s it for my initial impressions of the Bartok. Next up “Initial Impressions” of the Atom HE followed by “The Showdown at High Noon”.
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