In the previous article, we highlighted the importance of auditioning the gear you are considering.
It is well and good to read reviews of a product in your sights, and over time, you will notice that you will have more in common with a few reviewers and less with others. You can thus use these trusted reviewers to help you shortlist components that may appeal to you.
But nothing beats being able to listen to the system before you buy.
It can be a very painful exercise to buy hifi gear without being able to audition them first. If the gamble doesn't pay off, you will be stranded with an expensive piece of gear that you may have to unload at a loss. You may have to offset the loss of warranties in some cases because the warranty is not transferrable to the second owner, or when there is a new distributor.
More importantly, you might want to question why there are no units available for demonstrations. Some distributors do not carry inventory and only order the gear when you pay for the item. You may get a discount on these items but you may also want to question how the distributor handles repairs. If the distributor does not carry inventory of the items they sell, it is even less likely they will carry components for repairs.
With that all in mind, make a list of the components you are considering and proceed to Step 1.
Step 1 - Create a playlist
Chances are you have songs that you are familiar with. Songs that you’ve listened to almost all your life. Songs that you listened to when you had your first crush. Songs that seemed to echo the highs and lows of your relationships. Songs that helped you heal after a break up. Songs that kept you company during the lows of your life. Songs that reflected your angst with the world. Songs that lifted you up in spirit in your darkest periods.
Forget about audiophile recordings of famous jazz songs. Find songs that resonate with you and that you know all the lyrics to. Songs that you know inside and out. Backwards and forwards.
Dig up those CDs. If you want to, you can rip those songs to a USB drive in lossless quality. FLAC or WAV or ALAC or AIFF. If you don't know what these acronyms mean, don’t worry. The CDs will do just fine.
And if you love your vinyl, bring those along too.
Step 2 - Setting Up the Audition
Pop by Brisbane HiFi and tell us what you’d like to audition. And hand us your CDs. We can rip the songs using our BlueSound Vault 2 system that then streams the songs to any of the many systems we have set up in the store.
We will then set up the equipment you are considering in a system that is similar to the one you already own.
We will start your playlist, get you familiarised with the system and leave you to your music. Which brings us to Step 3.
Step 3 - Listening
Listening to music can be an intensely personal experience. It can be cathartic. It can rouse you from slumber. It can sooth the savage beast. And for some, it is a private affair. So we understand if you want some privacy and be lost in your music. We are only a few steps away if you need a hand or more information.
When you are fully immersed in your music, it must move you. And in our humble opinion, that’s the most important consideration of all.
If the new component is the right one, it must get your feet tapping. Or your head shaking.
And it is when you are so immersed in your music that when you discover new things about your favourite songs. A good music reproduction system will help you re-discover your music. You may have heard this line used before - and it is because it is so true - It’s like listening to the song for the first time. You hear an instrument, an echo, a back up vocalist or a slight nuance that you never noticed before. I remember the first time I heard - don't laugh - Rick Astley as a backup singer on a Bananarama song*.
If you are listening to unfamiliar tracks, it can be daunting. Your mind wanders trying to pinpoint and identify what you are hearing. You are not relaxed and your brain is in the wrong frame of mind to really enjoy the music.
And frankly, isn't enjoying your music the whole point of having a great music playback system?.
Once you have identified the right component to upgrade to, it is like finding The One. Once you find The One, you will know. It’s the same thing with high fidelity systems. Except it’s not cheating when you discover something better.
And we will always try to keep our prices competitive. If you do see better prices elsewhere, let us know and we will do our best to match them.
In the meantime, happy listening, folks.
* Venus - Bananarama. Listen closely when the back up singer sings “Venus was her name”. You are welcome.
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