Settling

I was feeling good. I sat down on the orange couch, kicked my feet up on my little wooden stool, let my head rest on the soft suede throw, and happily admired my home.

Ah, so nice. Perfect, she might say.

Now it was time. There was nothing left to do. I pressed Play.

I had been listening to so many CDs earlier, trying to figure out what to use for "Records to Die For," that I had no idea of what was even in the Arcam. And then it came: the simultaneous opening bass kick, cymbal crash, and guitar strum of "He Lays in the Reins," the first track of the beautiful Iron & Wine/Calexico collaboration.

I was stunned. It was so nice. Perfect, even.

After awhile of really nothing but reveling in the music, I let my mind go back again to that first night with the system, and — could it be? yes, but how? — decided that the music actually sounded even better now. So much better. Things do come back around. "When you least expect it," my momma might say.

The nylon strings of the Flamenco guitar, the ivory keys of the piano, the breaths in between Sam Beam's poetry, his mouth opening and closing in time with the brushes against the snare, and Salvador Duran standing up in the middle of it all, belting out these words in a language I don't speak, but clearly understand. Perfect.

What was going on? I powered up my laptop and sent a crazed e-mail to John DeVore. Something weird is going on. Everything sounds... BETTER! I don't know if I'm crazy or what, but images seem to be even clearer, tighter, crisper... um, better defined and more precisely placed...

"There are many things going on," John replied:

Break-in of everything, for one. The gibbon 3s had around 100 or so hours on them, and aren't considered fully burned-in 'till 200. Some even hear (note I didn't say "claim to hear") burn-in up to 1000 hours.

Also there is settling, which is the process of a piece of gear or cable, broken-in or not, that hasn't been played in awhile, and has been shaken, moved-around, twisted, etc., returning to it's settled state.

Acclimation. You could be simply getting more used to the sound of your new system, and getting better at hearing into your music.

Welcome to our world.

Thanks for having me.

***

Alright, I don't think this blog entry came out exactly the way I meant it to. I was going to write more about love and I hoped to even throw a little bit more poetry in there somewhere, but it's 3pm and I'm the only one left in the office, and I can almost smell the turkey already. So, I'm splitting.

And don't worry, Jim Tavegia: never, not for a single moment, did I consider revisiting the Magnavox boombox.

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Comments
Jim Tavegia's picture

Stephen,I am curious as to your other band mates and other musician friends you have had over the years," have any of them taken even a modest plunge into HighEnd audio? This question is similar to my experience of music teaching profesionals who seem less interested in owning decent audio playback gear. Being unable to transfer ones passion about something to another is often times frustrating: ""Why do I get it and they don't""?

Clay White's picture

What was it your mother said," ""You don't look for it"," you find it.""? I hate to say I told you so", but you may recall that I did.Happy listening and happy Thanksgiving.

john devore's picture

Also, it occurred to me later, the AC power being delivered to your system is suspect. I don

Al Marcy's picture

we are pathetic - it just keeps sounding better, and better - forever. Sigh. It could be worse ;)and, even the boombox improves with age 8^0

Stephen Mejias's picture

>What was it your mother said," ""You don't look for it"," you find it.""?Like me", my mom is always talking about love.I'm kidding, of course. Kinda.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>Have you discovered what kind of music plays to your system's strengths yet? I have an idea, but I'm not sure I trust myself yet. This is another thing I plan on discussing in a future entry.

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