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April 1st, 2023 Intro

David Hicks | Published on 3/31/2023

Ah, another year, another move.  Of this I am tired.  But, looking on the bright side, COVID is somewhat in our rearview mirrors, and I have new neighbors to introduce to my audio systems while also introducing them to the audiophile cult of higher fidelity.  

The new neighborhood is conducive to walking, which means there is a fair amount of foot traffic that passes in front of my house.  A narrow street with no sidewalks also means it is easy enough to chat with the local passersby when I manage to get outside and away from the remodeling of the new abode.  Of course, everyone wants to know what changes have been made to the inside of the house- they know that changes have been made by the many contractor trucks that have been parked in the driveway, and by my own woodworking machinery noises that have been generated from my garage. 

But, for many months I have kept prying eyes at bay while waiting for a suitable amount of interior construction to be completed.  I like the idea that the audio jewelry has a nice environment to be displayed in, though those of you who have seen my, at times, disorganized living spaces may be confused by this notion.  BTW, if you are reading this I am of the mind that you too have audio jewelry of some kind that a majority of the population would be unfamiliar with.  I think most people would gasp at the price of our turntables today, even though you can get a really good-sounding turntable, or a DAC, for just a few hundred dollars.  Maybe used, but still… When people are used to listening to music on earbuds through their phones, the idea that someone would pay a few hundred dollars or more for a single component in a sound system usually results in a confused state of mind for the uninitiated.  And, if a few hundred-dollar price tag can perplex the pedestrian music listener, mentioning that you’ve spent a few thousand dollars on a phono cartridge will usually cause their brains to “TILT” into a non-operative state that has them thinking you have lost your marbles or are maybe just making things up.  Then again, every once in a while, someone wants to know what all of this madness you’ve been describing actually sounds like.


Miranda & Leonardo are two of the oldest residents on my block.  They did not grow up on my street as they are much older than the homes of this mid-eighty’s neighborhood, but they are the residents of longest standing.  They know all the who’s who of who moved in where and when and when the houses were built and where the bodies are buried.  They are kidding about that last part, I hope. 

Anyway, after an extremely long process of replacing and finishing the new stairway railing- sort of the last of the big interior renovations, for now- I thought it might finally be time to invite them in to see a bit of the remodel.  Fast forward to three hours and some wine later, three hours in which the interior remodel was discussed for around five minutes out of those three hours, the rest of the time being filled with music listening, both downstairs and upstairs.  Miranda & Leonardo expressed being suitably impressed with the advances in the state of music reproduction, perhaps mainly because they are used to listening to music through one of the music channels on their television, or through a Sonos device in their kitchen.  That Sonos device was acquired as a gift from their children.  And, while they were impressed with my modest speakers and somewhat wowed by my turntable, they mentioned they’d even talked recently about the idea of getting a suitcase turntable of their own to play a few of their old records that are sitting in a box in their garage, what really impressed them was the ability to stream almost any song through the Roon app on my phone and have that music play on multiple devices in my living room, media room, office, kitchen, or bedroom.  My music NAS and Qobuz provided the library through which I let them play with the Roon app on my iPad so that they could make use of the extensive metadata and research information about any groups or singers they were interested in.  And, they were not just interested in Benny Goodman or the Andrew Sisters, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but they had a knowledge of many early jazz greats that far exceeded my limited knowledge of Jazz.  In fact, they talked about seeing Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and others in the Chicago clubs when they lived back East.  Through Roon, they were able to refresh their memories of the associated band members and other composers in an endless way that continued on until darkness compelled them to return to their home down the block. 


Are they now converts to better sound quality?  Maybe.  But they did discuss the idea of converting their children, and by way of that, their grandchildren.  As payback for the Sonos device in their kitchen, they talked of plans to surprise their son with a new stereo system.  And, though I suggested separate components, they were leaning towards something along the lines of the Andover-One Turntable Music System All-in-One system that I pointed them towards when they seemed to blanch at the task of deciding on multiple components.  They did, however, ask me to be on the lookout for a separates-system for themselves at a lower price point.  And they have also asked if they can bring the rest of their family over to listen to my systems the next time they are visiting here.  They also want to bring their dog, who apparently likes opera.  We’ll see about that.  I like my opera recordings, (see my music pick for this month for a related opera composer) but my imagination conjures up images of the dog howling along with the sopranos.


So, change is often distressing, especially if you are trying to piece together your audio equipment to get the best possible sound that you can from your gear in a new listening space- I always say that the room is king when it comes to how your stereo will sound.  But having others over to listen can be a good motivator for you to allocate the time to make the fine adjustments that are often needed to bring about the best sound from your gear.  To that end, don’t forget to download the SFAF app and use the “Meets” feature to search for other SFAF audiophiles in your area who you can connect with.  As of now, I see no one near me, but stay tuned, I can see that changing in the future.