Another one of those ‘gsferrari’ reviews is here…Well…its not entirely mine because I’ve used some information from websites and other reviews that I have read on my journey towards audiophilism
It is a well known fact that Sager owners love games and movies and music. Why…we even have a PinkFloyd in our group which says a lot about the diversity of the populace that frequent the forums. Whats fantastic about the forums is that discussions are not centered on computers or laptops alone. We have a healthy mix of almost everything from hilarious jokes, ridiculous websites, bizarre news, religion, dead pixels to some rather disturbing images of our members…
Today I am going to add a review to the reviews section that is totally disconnected from any of the reviews we have seen in the past. I will be reviewing some of my new audio equipment with the aim of educating the members about the potential to further sweeten their personal lifestyle.
So without any further ado lets get to the Real McCoy…
1] Personal Audio and what it can do for you
2] Music?? What Music??!!
3] Some Audio Terminology to get you started
4] Are you an Audiophile??
5] A listing of some GREAT equipment out there
6] How to choose your equipment
7] The $500.00 way to better sound
Ever felt the need to be completely disconnected from this world and all its worries, trials and tribulations? Ever felt the desire to just “Plug” into something and escape from everything…To transform from Mr. Anderson to Neo ?
I don’t know if we can arrange for you to fly around at hypersonic speeds, turn back time, bring the dead back to life and stop bullets in their tracks…But what I can arrange over the next few minutes that you spend reading this article is to change the way you relax. Bu following some of the suggestions here you can lie down and finally dream with a smile on your face…
Im talking about THE SOUND!!!
And NO This has nothing to do with Ross and his Keyboard in that whatsit serial “Friends”
Sounds have the ability to change your moods and emotions. Some sounds can wake you (and the neighbours) up with a merciless clash of the electric guitar and rock drums….Other sounds like the sounds of nature and life can bring you down from your excited state.
Most of us have speakers of some kind or another. We have headphones and CD Players and the wealthier few may have an iPod stashed away somewhere. The more discerning members may have Vinyl collections from the decades past while others may have thousands of CD’s in dehumidified and dust free storage. But if you are like me you probably have a few dozen CD’s strewn around the bedroom and a WHOLE lotta mp3’s downloaded illegally from the internet just for FUN
No matter which category you fall into, its how you raise the level of your personal entertainment system that makes the difference between a wry smile, a grin and a truly headbanging experience
I will go out on a limb here to say that I form a direct link between personal audio and headphones. There are those who say that a good pair of speakers is better than ‘cans’ anyday and they are probably right. But while a half decent set of speakers, Source, Amp and accessories will set you back a couple thousand dollars, A personal Headphone based entertainment system can be realized for a few hundred dollars and be just as, if not more effective!!!
Besides…how can your music be ‘personal’ if you’re playing it out of speakers for the world to hear??
Why buy headphones??
1.First and foremost, we all don't keep the same hours. I'm not talking about you and me. I'm talking about the person sleeping in the next room at this very moment. And no, this isn't some sick fantasy about a neighbor-it's her, the person sharing my rent, food, and life! Although I rise (and am expected to rise) when my unofficial spousal unit does, late-night hours reading and browsing the 'net, as well as writing stuff such as this usually mean I'm awake much later than she is (or most other people are). My neighbors don't care if I play my stereo after 10, but SHE certainly does. Without my 'phones, I'd be screwed. I'd never get to listen to half the discs I have. Well, "up yours," I say! With 'phones you've got your own hours and can at least reclaim and live out a valuable part of your life.
2.Apartments, or other such small dwellings, usually equal a cramped life. My listening room also serves duty as a living room, TV room, computer room, beer room, hanging-out room, etc. I can certainly see the purpose of a 15-room mansion since single-room multi-tasking just isn't all that practical. So when someone else calls room dibs and is watching the tube, reading, drinking, sleeping, or whatever, music is usually out for the Douger...until...now yer gettin' the picture.
3.Movies sound better through your headphones than through crappy TV speakers. You guys with home theaters can ignore this, but for others like me-well, this discovery happened quite by accident when Doug's Other pulled the usual "call it quits early" again. It looked as though I just wasn't going to be able to watch Leaving Las Vegas with any appreciable volume. But I plugged the Grados into my VCR's headphone jack and presto, wayyyy better full-stereo sound than the Sony box can crank out on its own.
4.Long-distance traveling becomes a breeze. Endless hours jiggling in a car or airplane seat and being forced to listen to someone else's choice of tunes becomes a thing of the past. Just stock up on batteries and get ahold of Headroom so you can get yourself a full-fledged, full-function traveling pack to haul your portable music center around the world with the least frustration possible.
5.Sometimes you just need your own space. Nothing can piss off avid audiophiles more than someone talking to them while they're trying to enjoy some music. Headphones give you an excuse to ignore such people. They don't know whether you can hear them or not, and they can't tell. If you can hear, who cares? Just pretend you don't and smile whenever they talk. After a bit, they'll get the subtlety of your hints and you'll have all the time you need.
6.A headphone system doesn't cost that much. I did it for less than $250 bucks. It could even be a lot cheaper, or certainly a lot more. I say start cheap but keep expansion in mind. I can't think of better reasonably priced 'phones than the Grado SR- 60s. Other people dig some of the low-price Shack models. Your expansion will come through your player-if you need one. Heck, if you have a headphone jack on some of the gear, you're off to the races (although the portability factor is gone). But remember, in time you may want to add an external headphone amp like those from Headroom. If you don't know why you would want one, just give one a listen to and you'll understand. Almost all Headroom models absolutely kill a portable player's headphone output, or even the jack on your CD player or preamp. And if you're lucky to have a digital output, you can add an Audio Alchemy DAC-MAN or something similar to improve your player's sound significantly. Ahhh, separates for headphone listening....
7.And finally, headphones can sound darn good. That's right, sometimes music is better served through headphones. And you need something on hand just in case music like that comes along.
Music?? What Music??!!
No matter what you listen to – Rock, Pop, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Blues, Folk, Country, New Age, Classical, Lounge, Metal, Punk…phew!! What a list…and im sure I haven’t even covered half of em
Well…No matter what you listen to, there is something about the ‘Sound’ which turns you on. Either that or you’re like me to watch music videos only to see Britney Speare and Madonna making out…*sigh* Every man’s dream…
So what can you do to make your music better? Why do you want to make it better in the first place? Don’t you feel happy enough with those $6.00 earphones that give you chronic tinnitus but still make you feel great after a couple of hours of music?? Do you really want to put yourself in a situation where you have such awesome equipment that your bathroom voice doesn’t stand a chance and risks going unused?
Why should I try to get you to spend money…even more than you already have…to have a better musical experience??
Its because this is something I decided to do. I decided to give myself something for all the hard work I put into my schoolwork and my job. I decided to reward myself with some relaxing privacy. Its not about the music…its about closing all doors to yourself and holding all keys.
By the end of this article I am hoping that some of you will get the message, follow some of my suggestions and end up having a great time. Those of you who do so will not see music fall into any of those categories that I listed above…you will find that one style blends seamlessly into the other…you will wonder why you never felt this way before about your music…you will give me a hundred bucks as payment for enticing you with all this drivel
Before we move any further we have to develop an understanding of what sound is. We have to understand the various terms associated with audio and we have to know what the Bass know and Treble knobs are for. We have to know what is available in the personal audio market today and what is worth looking at as a potential investment.
1] Volume : The sound level. Measured in db (Decibel)
2] SQ : Sound Quality (You can appreciate the detail in the music)
3] SPL : Sound Pressure Level (you can FEEL the music)
4] Cans : Slang for Headphones
5] Amps : Amplifiers
6] Bass : Low Frequencies in the music. Give the music a “fuller” feel
7] Treble : Mids and Highs. Give the music its “Detail”
8] Sources : Where do you get your audio signals from? PC, CD Player, PCDP
(Portable CD Player), HDD mp3 Player (iPod, Jukeboxes), Turntables
(Vinyl), Tape Decks etc.
9] Break In : Procedure carried out with new headphones, amps, cables to improve the
tonal quality and response
10] ¼ Jack : Large connecting plug
1/8 jack : Small (regular) connecting plug
11] RCA : Two Pin input/output (Left Right) in most high quality equipment
12] mini : Normal single pin (headphone socket; Line out) input/output
We will get to more as we move through the article…
Are you an Audiophile??
If you think you are and if you own a Sony Portable CD Player and street style earphones/headphones then think again!!! An Audiophile is happy to play the same song repeatedly each time tweaking his equipment to get everything to sound right. The same audiophile then moves on to the next song and at some point of time, like maybe the next day, comes back to the same song and does the whole thing again.
An audiophile takes approximately a tenth of the time to empty his wallet as it took him to fill it up in the first place. He will have one of every amplifier that is there in the market and he will have a dozen headphones…these are the kind of people who don’t realize that they have only one head and two ears…
We can all jump on the bus towards audiophilism…its where we decide to jump off that makes us smart or absurdly dumb. To know where to jump off takes reading, listening and knowing…knowledge is the key…