Consumed by frequency response graphs, whether my cables are made of copper or beryllium, and the theoretical ‘wideness’ of a sound stage, I belong to the commonplace that having quality audio products can fundamentally alter the way you appreciate music.
This all began the night I setup my first pair of quality speakers, a pair of Bowers and Wilkins 602 S3, and my friends and I listened to Shine On You Crazy Diamond parts I-X by Pink Floyd. Never had I truly felt music like I did that night. Melodic guitar plucks became the sounds of weeping band members. The vibrato in Roger Stone’s voice filled the room with sorrow. The sound from these speakers hugged me like a mother hugs her child after they return from war. Since this day I’ve owned and used headphones, and speakers, ranging from $10 to $10,000, open and closed backed, blue-tooth and cabled, in-ear and over-ear, and everything in between. Since then I’ve developed a more holistic view of how much more of an experience money can buy. Many would argue that it’s ridiculous to spend that much on a pair of speakers or headphones and to that I reply that it ultimately depends on the values of the individual. I still stand by my belief that quality audio products are life changing in terms of the way you listen to music, but as to how much you have to spend to get the ‘full experience’ is up to you. If your wired Apple earbuds make you smile every morning when you walk to work then keep those. If you want to feel the most premium, luxurious experience ever then spend $120,000 beryllium drivers, balanced armatures, artisan design, low-oxidation-high-conduction cables, and a perfectly balanced titanium turntable. There’s no objectivity in what the best audio reproduction method is for everyone because it’s ultimately subjective to how you want to experience your music.
For me, listening to music on quality speakers is the equivalent of believing all your life that love is purely lust and physical affection, and then one day you get into a relationship where the person actually cares about your feelings, passions, and all your tiny intricacies. Music, alongside math memes and absurdly abstract conversational pieces, comprises most of my being. Everywhere I go I have at least one pair of headphones with me. Last year Spotify Wrapped told me I listened to 76.3 days worth of music in 2019 and this year, somehow, I’m on pace to break that personal best. Subsequently, music being something so integral to almost every waking second of my life I’ve come to value quality audio products. Although I’ve easily spent over a thousand dollars on headphones and speakers, day in and day out they bring me more joy than almost anything else. This helped shape my fundamental view on what to prioritize: whether it be people, things, or an idea, if it truly brings purpose and meaning to your existence then spend as much time and money on it as you’d like.