Monday, February 07, 2011

The Listening Room



My basement contains a real throwback to my 1970's bachelor days. Those days when the music was all; no frills (read: no money.) Those hours were spent listening to LPs or 45's. With all the instant, omnipresent and cheap music now available, does anyone take the time to stop everything and disappear into a stereo "sweet spot" anymore? I tried the iPod approach, and found it annoying.

I thought about decorating my "listening room" a bit, but then thought better of the idea. Any pictures or artwork would diffuse my concentration, besides, I usually listen at night, with the lights out. I don't do marathon sessions anymore, a wooden chair is comfortable enough, I don't want to fall asleep. I can nap to music in the computer room. I'll only listen to a disc or two, and put them away afterwards, keeping the room almost barren: four speakers, an integrated amplifier, an EQ unit, a CD player and a turntable.

What used to be an expensive hobby (as far as equipment was concerned) is now cheap (all of this gear was thrifted or free.) The other factor in the equation is time, and time has become (for me, a least) a most valuable commodity.

By Professor Batty



10 Comments:

Anonymous Jon said...

I'm totally with you on this. iPods remind me of the old transistor radios we put in our shirt pocket and listened to with an earplug. Nothing sounds as full as my old DLKs and Marantz amplifier. Unfortunately, it is relegated to the garage, so its mostly a warm weather sport.


Blogger Rose said...

Batty, you have your priorities straight.


Blogger Professor Batty said...

One of my co-workers thought my basement looked like an interrogation room!


Blogger Mary said...

A bit austere, but nice. I applaud the vinyl choice; my radio station still gives priority to buying vinyl.

Years ago I worked for a computer company called Four-Phase Systems. Our product was a data entry system and we sold "operator tables" that look just like the one in this photo - note the modesty panel from those days of short skirts.


Blogger Professor Batty said...

Mary ~ the table is actually an integral stand for a Mackie audio mixer, with a 50's formica desk-top in its place. The modesty panel keeps the legs from splaying as well.


Blogger oroboros said...

I understand where you're coming from (talk about "bachelor days" - I'm never married - my living room in both seasonal homes are my "sound rooms" - LPs as well as CDs). But I've gotta say I love my iPod. It's got my entire CD collection and a portion of my LPs: ~ 120 Gigs. I love to play it in the shuffle mode...and never as background music. I listen.


Blogger oroboros said...

Forgot to add: I plug it in to my superlative sound systems and listen that way. I do also have Bose headphones if I wanna not wake up the neighbors.


Blogger Professor Batty said...

oroboros~ I tried to like my iPod, not my idea of fun. My old sound system (which I sold a few years ago) was a full-blown Yamaha Pa system, 400 watts bi-amped, with 2-18" subwoofers and super tweeters with a response of 20Hz to 40kHz, 120 dB @ 1 meter.


Blogger oroboros said...

Wow! Did you try plugging the iPod into that, or did it pre-date the iPod? I live in two different homes, so the iPod is just such a convenience and the shuffle feature shortcircuits that pre-echo effect of knowing what the next song's gonna be. I do a full shuffle. I'll get say, a movement of a string quartet, then a tune by Al Dimeola or maybe Leo Kottke, then Gabby Pahinui Slack Key, then Harry Partch, then John McLaughlin, Tom Waits, Jane Siberry, aphex twin, Ani Defranco, Brian Eno, Kingston Trio...and it could go on like that for two months without stop...25K tunes, and it's the creme-de-la-creme of my collection. Gotta be in awe of the technology. But I understand the other side too. Treasure = trash; everybody's right relativism.


Blogger Professor Batty said...

It's the randomness and the number of choices that got to me on the iPod. I don't have the patience to deal with setting it up.The link has the story. Oh, BTW, that was a misprint in the previous comment- it was a 4000 watt system.

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