Saturday, October 20, 2018

Choosing to invest in listening

Life seems to have been relatively rushed of late, and consequently, serious music listening has been pushed to the back of things to do. I still have the study rig going regularly but it's been some time before I fired up the main rig for no other purpose than to sit an listen, particularly to vinyl. As an aside, one thing I have noticed since tubes, somewhat miraculously, made their way back into my listening room's primary set up, is that I'm listening less. Life demands aside, I think that the thought of firing up the power amps and the phono stage so they are ready to play is mixed in with an inner-calculus of 'how much listening am I planning to do'?

When I had only solid state gear in the main rig I used to leave everything on, all the time. Thus, if I wanted to hear a few tunes I'd just hit play and there they were. Since I moved to an ARC tubed phono stage from a Whest, I find that I need to commit to several hours of listening before I consider it worth hitting the power on button. I don't like this, but I check on that 'hours' button on the ARC's display to see that I'm running down the useful life of the tube set. Perish the thought that I'd lose a few hundred hours of tube life by letting them sit warm but idle. In the grand scheme of things, tube life is relatively long and replacement costs not exorbitant, but still, there's a cost here that you don't think about with solid state.

Well last night I wanted music and I wanted to listen intently while nursing an adult libation. Vinyl it was and man, did it feel good. I'd picked up the latest Paul Simon on LP and needed to give it a listen, and one thing led to another and 4 or 5 lps later I was in a good space. Perhaps that's the commensurate benefit of tubes - by rendering music listening a conscious choice, I committed myself more to the process and in so doing, got more out of it. Not sure, but I do know the rig sounded sweet, no matter what I played. Still enjoying the fun with the Audioengine 5+ wireless speakers in my study, but man, the main rig is hard to beat, especially spinning some vinyl through the ARC. 

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