Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Declaration of Equipment

My friend Mitch thinks anyone who says anything publicly about recordings should state what listening equipment they have.

My own is 12-year-old consumer-grade stuff: amplifier, turntable, and cassette deck from Onkyo, CD changer from Sony, speakers from Kef. Not Kef's audiophile line, though - they're the K-160s. My headphones, used at work, are Sennheisers.

Sometime soon, I'll be swapping the CD changer for an SACD player, as that format promises much better sound quality than CDs. And eventually I plan to upgrade everything else, but not in the near future.

As it heppens, when I discuss recordings, I'm usually not going to say much about the recording quality. Not only do I not have a top-notch system, there is too much variability in everyone else's equipment for what I say about sound to be very meaningful. And it's not normally my biggest concern, either. I care more about the musical quality of a performance than I do about the sound, except to the extent that the sound is so bad that it interferes with my ability to hear the rest of the performance. I'll notice when the sound seems great or the sound seems awful, but not necessarily the in-between variations. This is probably a flaw of some kind on my part, but you might as well know what I'm likely to hear and what I'm not.

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