Hi-Fi Controversies: Listening
I think about this hobby often: A lot. Recently, the thought that captured my mind was controversy; how is it that a hobby whose purpose is enjoyment so riddled with controversy? My next thought; why not talk about some of them?
So that's what I plan to do. I have no plan as to how many and which we'll talk about and I'd be very happy to hear from you with your thoughts about controversial subjects you'd like to delve into, here.
I would just add one caveat before we get going; thank you. Thank you, all, for your thoughtful and respectful comments on AudioStream. It has been a continued pleasure to read them and I am truly grateful that we can share in our enjoyment here and encounter thoughtful, considerate, and generous people. Thank you.
When discussing controversial topics it may be tempting at times to be less than polite so a gentle reminder that we have a zero tolerance policy for a lack of civility, disrespectful comments, and personal attacks.
How Can Listening Be Controversial?
To suggest that we listen to hi-fi gear we're interested in is to some a mistake. Their idea being something like—our prejudices, preconceived notions, biases, and other human foibles will cloud our perception. Many times hand-in-hand with this position is the supposed importance of removing these foibles from the equation using some sort of blind test.
On another side of the coin, coins in the hi-fi hobby are more than two-sided, people feel that listening, especially over time, to be the best way to determine what we will enjoy listening to.
I'm going to leave me out of this introduction in terms of my beliefs on this controversy (well, sorta), but I will ask a question—for those people who support blind testing, do you or have you meditated? Have you ever tried to quiet your mind, removing all conscious thought, for 20 minutes at a clip? Two times a day for a week? For years?
If you have, you'll have noted that to detach our minds from our thoughts takes practice; it feels unnatural. My point being, the idea that we can remove all biases from the listening experience by removing the knowledge of what we are listening to ignores the fact that our minds are still distracted by thought.
Thoughts? Can we listen to determine what we enjoy listening to? Or do we need to take extra care with our biases when auditioning hi-fi gear?