Limits and Listening enjoyment

Sometimes it is most pleasurable to work with limits. When I was a young boy, I played SimCity games on the computer for a while. I learned of a cheat that meant you never ran out of money. Even if your city was invaded by aliens, hit by tsunamis and earthquakes, looted by the criminals and polluted beyond repair – the money kept rolling in.

This cheat quickly ran out of appeal. Far more exciting is to work with what you have and try to fight off the baddies with little to no chance of survival. Sure your city crumbled to the ground most often – but once in a while the enemy retreated, the civilians loved you as a mayor – happy days.

I find listening to music to be similar. I have a NAD 3020i amplifier which is almost as old as the LP’s that I play. My speakers are small Q Acoustic 2020i’s. I know there are infinitely more expensive and powerful setups out there, but still i have never enjoyed listening to music so much. The limits of my setup means that I have to experiment with alignment of speakers, with LP needles, volume settings, and pushing the amp and speakers to breaking point. Working with these limits opens the door to miracles. Perhaps it is my brain tricking my ears into the effectiveness of some tweak, or maybe its something as simple as the amount of sleep i have had, or the food i have eaten, but sometimes it all just sounds perfect.

I suppose my biggest point is that most of us don’t have the very latest and greatest equipment. But limitless resources and equipment does not necessarily give you happy listening. Working within ones means and limits, and recognising when it all comes together is my secret to listening enjoyment.

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