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Grant Stoner Musings

Grant Stoner | Published on 3/26/2020

Well there’s nothing good about the Corona virus, so let’s make something up to cheer us up a bit.  The one good thing for audiophiles is it’s “forcing us” to stay home and listen to music.  It’s a good time to organize your record collections as well.  I’ve been doing a lot of both.

The subject I’d like to explore though is, do audiophiles generally have ADD?  I’ll say straight away, yes, but just occasionally, like when we get new equipment.  At least it’s that way with me.  When I get something new, I listen immediately to a minute or so of my reference recordings 5 to 10 in a row.  How will this sound?  Oh this has to be good!  How crisp are the cymbals?  Can I hear that bass note?  It’s rather obsessive.  Sound familiar?

When you get that initial phase of listening to lots of everything, you can then sit down with a glass of wine and listen to a whole album side, or god forbid, an entire album.

I’ll tell you my secret, well, not so secret, test music.  First a few CD’s: Manu Katche’s Neighborhood. ECM is always  first … it covers pretty much everything, decay and air around the cymbals, piano timbre and decay, bass definition, is the sax harsh or smooth, it has it all.  Then some The Rite of Strings, IRS with Al Di Meola, Stanley Clarke and John Luc Ponty, a perfect acoustic recording.  I’ll then try some electronic pop, Depeche Mode’s Violator, Sire Records, to see just how loud and deep things can go.

Then a few records (more than a few).  Bill Connors Of Mist and Melting, ECM, Genesis Selling England by the Pound, Atlantic, and Tony Rice Unit’s Backwaters, Rounder Records, get it started.  Then I move on to a lot of classical from Stravinsky-dense things to light Vivaldi or Telemann Chamber music and many more after.

I went thru the whole scenario recently when Leslie graciously conceded (even suggested), combining some of her used equipment into my system.  Most major was a Conrad Johnson Premier 17LS2 pre-amp and Conrad Johnson Premier 140 amplifier.  (Sorry that’s about it for the nice closet stuff, so don’t even think of calling her to borrow something.)  Anyhow it definitely made my excellent sounding system far more excellent, of course my new listening room doesn’t’ have as good acoustics as my old, but there were definite immediate sonic differences.  The bass from the CJ amp is so round and full that I can barely turn up the sub anymore. 

There’s plenty for the room coming from the mains, Martin Logan Mosaics.  The point is I had to listen to everything I have all over again.  Just clips at first, but then extended cuts.  Each new bit of equipment gives you more reason to listen…I’m quite happy with my system, but when something new comes along and you can’t believe it’s event better.  Satisfied but never satisfied… I guess that’s our curse.

So in conclusion, I don’t really know if all audiophiles have ADD, but I know I sometimes do.  But I can eventually kick back and devour an entire album in one sitting…It’s all good.  Stay healthy.