During these difficult times I have been reflecting on my hifi journey and the milestones in music reproduction in my home over that journey. As I have improved my system over the years from an Amstrad receiver to what I have today, I can crudely categorise those milestone in SQ improvement into the ‘what‘, ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of music reproduction in my home.
I will try to explain those milestones.
With my most basic system, I could hear what was being played and could start to hear the words in lyrics. I could hear what notes were being played and what instruments were in the mix, although this would all fall apart as the mix became dense.
Improving the system and I could hear who the vocalists were, and even start to recognise who the musicians were when I heard a piece for the first time. That ‘signature’ of a musician or a singer became more apparent.
Upping my kit even further I started to appreciate how an instrument was being played and how a vocalist was singing on a particular track. The texture and tone of different instruments were becoming more distinct, the inflection and expression a vocalist would impart was becoming clear.
Why was an instrument being played in such a manner? Why did a vocalist use those lyrics and sing in that way? These clues were of course to express and communicate thoughts and feelings. Joy, sadness, love, depression, hope. Now some basic systems are capable of this but I have found as I improved my hifi over the years, it is the ‘why’ that has moved on the most.
It is fair to say that these stages didn’t follow in strict sequence and some of the latter stages I started to recognise in some of my earlier systems. But it was clear to me that ‘How’ and ‘Why’ of music in my home really started to take off with my more recent hifi upgrades. That is not to say these facets of music cannot be heard in a lower cost system, they can, and I can attest to that. But where I am now, I hear so much more into the music and where before a piece was a little muddled and confused, I now suddenly ‘get it’. Like a light bulb coming on.