Thursday, January 22, 2009

We Were NEVER Mnml, January 2009

A rider before we begin... this column developed out of thoughts from a dialogue I was having with Philip Sherburne about listening at the end of our massive (and slightly untimely) End of Year discussions at RA, which you can find here. If you take the time to read them and PS' own post here (scroll down or cntrl+F for 'editing is essential...'), it will hopefully add something...

All throughout 2008, one of the common threads coming through in the responses to questions I’d asked music makers from all over the sphere was a despairing sense that people simply aren’t giving listening its due, so I’d like to do justice to their pleas by starting ’09 with a few hundreds of words thinking about listening. Do us a favour: pause your pod, pipe down, and tune in.

The other day my friend’s girlfriend – an avid indie fan with a particular prediliction for the Fleet Foxes – explained her system for vetting new music. Each of the dozens of albums she downloads a week (shared with a group of fellow fan/friends on Pando) get played through her laptop speakers while she’s on the net. If she likes what she’s heard so far, she then loads it onto her mp3 player. Hardly uncommon. In fact, if my group of friends are any yardstick, it’s becoming the norm. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with filtering new music in this way, either: you graze the surface of things, you get an inkling, and that leads you on to a fuller and deeper listen.

But what if the fuller and deeper listen never comes? What if, like increasing numbers of people, your listening process is something like the following:

a) you get the feeling you 'need some new music', so you

b) acquire several hundred megabites worth of zips, either from friends’ USB drives, Pando, BitTorrent, or rapidshare, which you then place in/on

c) a folder on another hard-drive attached to your laptop, where they remain until

d) you’re sick of the 80 gigs already on your music player, which you then connect to your computer, prune, re-arrange, then add the new files into playlists which you then

e) listen to while you’re on public transport or the gym on a pair of headphones or

f) you listen at home while you’re on the ‘net, using the speaker set which is connected with a pair of speakers nearby, typically those used as your computer’s AV speakers

I confess: this is one part of my regular listening routine, and it makes me wonder… when was the last time you or I or anyone else we know actually sat down and ‘just listened’ to a song without being distracted or otherwise occupied with whatever else was around us? Good equipment and higher fidelity undoubtedly enhances the experience, but it’s no substitute for really, truly, deeply tuning in to the music that’s playing, and to me what's vital here is our listening environment and the attention we give to the recording while we're in it.

Ask yourself: when was the last time you gave whatever new music that came into your life your full attention, closing your eyes and giving yourself over to the sound? And not just to block out work or the world around you, but because the music makers who created those sounds gave their heart and soul and sweat to make that recording as good as it could possibly be in their hands?

Of course, it’s not like we can be expected to give the years of time and care that an artist does to their work (especially when we don’t have either the time or the care to), but nonetheless, before we pass judgement (or even form a vague opinion) on any piece of music that crosses our paths this year, let’s stop and question whether we’ve given it a fair hearing. If you claim to give a fuck about music, then, among your many resolutions, make the effort to be a better listener.

So then... what would it mean to be a better listener? Let's discuss....

(and Pipecock, before you chime in, this is not a post about the manifest superiority vinyl.... )



  1. Like it or not, illegal downloading is now the dominant form of acquiring music. It has definitely changed my listening habits; I listen to much, much better music. Before illegally downloading music was as convenient and pleasurable as it is today, I used to settle for the shit indie being sold at my local record store; not anymore. I live in the southern U.S., and without the internet, I would not be within 500 miles of techno. Due to the internet, my tastes have become honed and narrow; I can find the music which matches my tastes perfectly. The internet has allowed me to listen to only the best music, because I am not restrained by geographic barriers. If it is tough to really focus on the tunes being played at the moment, it is because good music is more plentiful than it has ever been before. The abundance of good tunes is something to be cherished, not disregarded.

  2. to be honest, i only listen to music when i can give it my FULL attention. in other words, i only listen at night, when i'm alone in my room, without any lights turned on.
    no distraction what so ever, only the music, myself, and the connection between us.
    i do it this way since the day i stopped looking at music as only music. music is / can be so much more.

  3. @ anonymous: wow, thank you very much for such a frank and honest assessment. I think a lot of people living in the southern hemisphere and anyway outside NyLon/N.Atlantic areas are in a similar predicament... and never mind the fact that, to participate in the worlds of iTunes and mailorder, you have to have a credit card....

    ...but how do you listen to all this music you've honed in on, I think that's what I really want to get at.

    @ Evad: wow, that's great. How long do you listen for? And at what volumes?

    The other week my friend and I were minding my parent's house. My father has a massive system with a big sub woofer, and we were caning a whole bunch of dubstep and... oh... my... god... we just sat there in the dark giggling like little girlies 'cos of the pleasures of the pressure from the bins...

    ...reminds me of being a teenager, stoned, listening to Maggot Brain with friends in my room, lights off.

    ...the other day my friend sent me an SMS:

    'Just picked up my HD25s. Holy fuck. I never realised there was so much music in my favourite music...'

  4. i listen to a good amount of music while in transit on the subway/train/walking/gym etc., and most of the other time i listen to music is while working. with sound isolating headphones (shure e3cs) i feel i can really get a good listen in, but of course im always distracted.

    its really my ability to carry around such a large amount of music in my pocket that enables me to do this, but, of course, it also leads to a less than ideal environment for listening to music.

    this makes those times that its just me and the music all the more special, though. last night though i listened to animal collectives 'merriweather post pavilion' without anything to distract me except the sights of new york at night and it was really wonderful. the music has to be right though; in this case it was. im more likely to listen to something by them or vladislav delay in that environment than, say, a new techno mix. not to say techno isnt personal or suitable for listening, it surely is. i just feel that being active while listening to it almost enhances the experience, while something more ambient is better listened to while still.

    what im trying to say is, walking around and being active while listening to music sometimes enhances the experience and sometimes diminishes it. its our job as listeners to define the ideal environment for a piece of music to be listened in.

  5. @ Minimill: it's interesting you bring up Vlad. I too find his music totally immersing.

    Sasu also loves his iPod, and the shuffle function. I remember an interview where he was singing its praises. He likes Massive Attack. far as format and technology goes... I've been thinking about this for a long, long, long time now, I've interviewed dozens of producers and got their opinion, and there's a feature for RA (forthcoming) on mastering that I did which has all lead me to the conclusion that each format has its uses and disadvantages.

    You get on hi-fi geek forums and they geek out about 5,000 dollar a pair speakers, but almost invariably every hi-fi geek I've known has had rubbish taste in music and spends a fraction on 'software' as they do on 'hardware'.'s interesting how different genres suit different forms of listening.

    Eno once said that new forms of music necessitate new forms of listening.

    ...over summer break (southern hemi) I couldn't listen to techno at all, 'cos it reminded me of being at work. I listen to it while studying/researching/writing, but while I was having a break with that, I couldn't think of anything worse.

    I listened to Stephen Mathieu's Radioland. A lot. Amazing record that. And a lot of other beatless, drone and experimental records. And 80s pop. Especially David Sylvian. Go figure.

    How does techno go in the countryside?

    Factors of history, culture, habit notwithstanding, how do our surrounding environments shape our listening habits and preferences?

  6. "...reminds me of being a teenager, stoned, listening to Maggot Brain with friends in my room, lights off."

    will anything else ever sound that good?

  7. to PC:
    to me, my surroundings change my preferences completely. once winter comes i pull out the Gas records and ambient, whereas when it warms up im more prone to listen to more upbeat things. koenigsforst makes me think of white forests, kid a makes me think of late nights walking around a city, and a luciano set makes me think of warm summer days.

    music is heavily influenced by surroundings. it reminds me of places i was while listening to the record, or transports me to places i've never been (for example, animal collective's 'brothersport' makes me think of lush jungles, places i've never been, but in my mind are quite vivid).

    in terms of listening habits, im much more prone to actually intently sit down and listen to something at night or in the colder months.

  8. Funnily enough, I nearly always listen to _new_ music by sitting and listening to it - either on my tinny laptop speakers, or via the laptop and through my studio monitors.

    Only after it passes this essential test, does it become a permanent part of my music collection (that is, copied onto the server that serves my Squeezebox).

    Oh and the best thing I ever did for my music listening was to get a pair of Krix for the loungeroom. Detail, detail, detail.

  9. i should point out, i mean specifically listening to new music, on my laptop or studio monitors.

    (which is context sensitive to the music - obviously reggae, dubstep, etc need the studio monitors).

    some times music sits on my disk for weeks until i get the time to actually give a good close listen and I decide whether it ends up on the squeeze server or not.

  10. ... how important is listening equipment?

    Does anyone else have any stories about a new pair of phones, speakers etc that 'changed everything'?

    And how does producing change the way you listen to other people's records?

  11. from a hi-fi addict: i graduated almost two years ago, and the first thing i did when i had my own place to live was to buy the best amp and speakers i could afford on my measly pay, and i've never looked back... (except to wonder what the f*** i was doing listening to a £30 minisystem at university, and computer speakers before that...)

    i've been given a CD player since then and lent a set of decks and now know that i'm never going to have any money in my life, because whatever i save i'll always spend on improving my set-up. i've completely bought into the whole hi-fi geek thing (albeit on a low budget so far...) and it's completely changed my relationship with music.

    the other thing that's changed the way i listen to music is (*yawn*) buying vinyl... which i only started doing about 6 months ago, and i'm not in any way a purist (i'm 22...), and i'm not going to say anything about analogue vs digital sound quality, because actually i have a rubbish mixer anyway so my CD player sounds a lot better... it's much more about choosing records to buy that really matter to me, so that i can then sit down with them every evening and get to know the tracks a lot more closely than i would any mp3 on my computer, as well as playing them in different contexts/mixing them in different ways...

    it's a BIT OF AN expensive habit (especially as i also buy CDs, often of the same music but for different types of listening), but you can't argue with love!

    on another note, how many people consider going out to somewhere like Fabric (when the volume's right), or a party with a well set-up Funktion 1 soundsystem, to be the best opportunity there is for hi-fi listening? i think it's incredibly sad how many good soundsystems are wasted by being pushed too hard, how many good clubs are wasted on rubbish soundsystems, and also how many house and techno fans have given up on going out at all. you think you know a track until you hear it in Fabric room 1...

  12. This hand-wringing about how people listen to music is going the rounds at the moment. I'm struck by a couple of things.

    First, the discussion's led by the highest profile 'quality' critics e.g. Reynolds, Sherburne, the guy who's started the Slow Listening blog and your good self ;-) You guys have massive, privileged access to music so you're not representative of the average listener.

    Second, I understand the impulse to be concerned about people not listening properly, but music's always been used in a huge variety of ways. Used being the operative word, in terms of being functional, an aid to any state we can experience, be that meditative, aggressive, distracted, suicidal - you name it. Sure, many of us have access to more music than we know what to do with, but please give us credit - we get what we need out of it in whatever way we want to. I'm listening to Scorch Trio through my laptop speakers while writing this, an hour ago I was streaming Jon Hassell via Airport Express to my stereo/Wharfdale speakers. A couple of hours before that I was listening to Soundboy's Gravestone... through £110 Ultimate Ears headphones attached to my iPhone.

    I think undistracted listening was always a rare experience. Music we love, we listen to more - and more deeply - but we've always done a whole lot of grazing to get there.

  13. I've jumped over completely to digital, and have almost stopped buying CDs too. For my DJing (non-Pro - small parties mostly) I've stopped playing off vinyl and CD and gone completely digital, running Traktor and a couple of controllers.

    Just for a laugh I pulled out my old record backs and hooked up an SL1210 a couple of weeks back, and really enjoyed the physical feel of the vinyl, the cover-art, the A-side/B-side package, and the sense of time and space that the whole lot brought together.
    Since then I've been taking a whole lot better care of my digital music collection - I go find the cover art, I make sure I know what year a track was released in, I try collect the 2 or 3 or 4 tracks that were released together, and just generally try to package it up again to get away from the very temporaty and disposable feel that can come with digital-format electronic music.
    Vinyl won't die ever really, but more and more it will be relevant only to collectors and those with a particular fetish for it.
    I hope that in it's place we can start to adopt lossless compressed formats and better care over the packaging of the digital music.

  14. The last time I let an album just wash over me, eyes closed, nothing else to distract me, was a couple of weeks ago when my friend debuted (to me) Animal Collective's "Merriweather Post Pavilion." It's a great record to begin with, but I'm especially glad I had a chance to absorb its immenseness the way I did.

    I think it's good these sorts of discussions about listening are cropping up. As technology integrates itself deeper and deeper into our lives, so much becomes about efficiency and expediency rather than unmitigated quality. Without these discussions it's so easy to get sucked into that and not look back.

  15. great post!

    digging into music discovery workflows, i got curious :)

  16. i like to use music in conjunction with other activities. i listen to music mostly when i am going to sleep, walking, and driving. all of these allow me to concentrate on the music pretty well (unless there's someone in the car who wants to talk, in which case i turn it way down). but whenever i get a new record (which is how i buy 90% of my music) i always sit/stand in my record room (which has no internet) and listen to it through my studio monitors at least once. usually, it will get 3-5 listens through the studio monitors when i first get it. sometimes, i just go up there to listen to music with no distractions at a nice volume.

    also, i never acquire music in large batches like the way your friend does. i usually only pointedly download an album i have on vinyl or something i've never heard that was reccomended that might not be easily obtainable on wax to check out. if i like it, i find it on wax. most of my record buying comes from going to record shops where i can preview the shit i buy. most dance singles i buy online from sound samples, but that's usually sufficient for me to know what the track is like.

    i listen to almost no dance music during a given day. the last 3 things i've listened to were Sade, KLF, and one of the ambient Rod Modell albums.

  17. interesting topic. i sense that with the ever-growing information we obtain of music & the availability, people really lose track of the work/meaning, that is put into it. for instance i never understood guys who wanted to copy all my music collection just for fuck's sake. to have it? just so? to be able to listen to it? i guess it comes with the quantitative aspect of music, with the 80G-aspect of music, that you somehow lose touch to the real value of it. it's like with money.

  18. First off, it's pretty interesting that a number of comments have mentioned "Merriweather Post Pavilion." There's so much happening at any given moment on that record -- so much good, rich musical stuff -- that the kinds of quick, passive listening mentioned in previous posts hardly seem to suffice. I first heard a leaked copy at a friends' apartment playing through the open door of an adjacent room from blasting computer speakers. I could tell the album was a force to be reckoned with, but I didn't feel like I'd actually heard it until this Tuesday, when I picked up a copy and brought it home for a listen in a dark room on my studio monitors. I wonder if "MPP" will engender more careful, distraction-free listens from people who normally wouldn't consider such a thing necessary, and maybe this will extend to other albums/tracks in their collections.

    I try to make at least a little time every day for listening as a primary activity -- not commuting, not internet surfing, not mixing, just sitting still and listening. It's a task that sounds far simpler than it actually is. We're so used to music as part of a larger, messier tableau, the soundtrack for something instead of the thing itself. It takes serious, serious patience to give a piece of music its due, both to pick apart its constituent parts and to appreciate the way in which they all coalesce. Can we really be blamed for letting this activity generally fall by the wayside, given the culture of the last decade or so? I'm not sure all music is meant to be listened to this way (much of it seems destined for ringtone-dom, or, if you're talking techno, the club), but a lot of it is, and I think we owe it to ourselves and the music to truly engage with it. We can squabble about format and equipment ad infinitum. And while these factors can certainly contribute to a successful listening experience, they're not much without some serious discipline on the part of the listener.

  19. Wow! It depends on the mood I am at the moment.

    3 steps:

    first step: dig the web and download a lot of stuff illegally or not(blogs, webzine, forums, podcasts)I erase what I don' t like and then I buy what I like.

    Second step: I reckon i buy 75% of my records on the internet and don't go shopping often.When I buy a pece of wax in a shop right now, it's always when I haven't planed to and it will be 90% of the time 80's music like roxy music or bowie etc...

    I buy my records on the web when it's about electronic records and I like it a lot, I find everything i need and I don' t have to run everywhere in Paris with my dj bag.I know I should make an effort but I guess I' m a lazy man.My shops are called Hardwax, Clone and Juno and that's a fact: they make my life much easier.

    third step: listening.

    I have a real devastating Hi-Fi system at home and it's just so cool wether I listen to electronics, rock, hip hop jazz or classic.After it depends on the mood I am.But one thing is sure: when I listen to my records for the first time, I do nothing else but listening.

    It also depends on the music.It's obvious I won' t listen to GAS Konigsfort the same way I' ll listen to a RA podcast for example.

    I do have an iPod and I only listen to it when I travel or have to spend at least an hour in the public transports.If not, I prefer to stay connected with my environement.

    Sometimes I also have sudden desires of music.
    For example yesterday night, all of a sudden, I wanted to hear Slowdive'souvlaki.It's stange cause I did not listen to it for years.But I had to listen to it.Although I own the cd, I was too lazy to look for it and find it on my shelves so I listened to it o my laptop, on deezer(it was late and I was Drunk)Then I turned the light off and I must have fell asleep very fast because I don' t remember listening to it fully.I' m sure that If I had make the effort to find the CD and listening to it on my Hi-Fi system, I couldn't have slept and would have listened to it with emotion.It's the first thing I will do tomorrow, listen to it again on my system in the dark, in my bed.Listening to music on the computer is convenient but is surely not a "listening experience".

    It's a very nice article you wrote and I tolly agree here.

  20. "Does anyone else have any stories about a new pair of phones, speakers etc that 'changed everything'?"

    I May have one. I bought a few months ago, high end headphones : the JVC HP-DX1000. Listening to music with it is incredible and a fun experience. To make it short, it's like being with big room sound without actually a big room. There a huge soundtage, incredible bass, and I discovered tons of details in music I thought I know well. Not something you can hear on crappy PC or laptop speakers (btw I wonder how anyone can listen to music on such poor equipment).

    Otherwise I almost always listen to music when going to bed until falling asleep, listening at low volumes on my hi-fi system. As long as it is not too fast (<130 bpm), not too upbeat and kind of repetitive, it works.

    Also, when I get mixes from here or elsewhere, I like to listen to them many times until I'm familiar with it. I may have listened to the cio d'or mix more than 10 times for example.
    And I found that no tracklist works great, as you focus more on the music and do not get distracted by who did what, etc.

  21. I don't even have a mp3 player. Don't even wan't one.
    I can listen stuff (usually sets, podcasts...) @ work and enjoy stuff @ home. And I do mean enjoy :)

  22. "When was the last time you or I or anyone else we know actually sat down and ‘just listened’ to a song without being distracted or otherwise occupied with whatever else was around us?"

    I think that this statement is a bit of a sign of the times. Today, in this faster life, people in general just don't have the time to actually sit down, pay attention, and listen to their music. Heck, even now, as I type this, I have Globus Mix 5: Matthew Herbert on in the background, which I'm only half listening.
    Listen to the FM radio, or any commercial station, and you hear a lot of same sounding music. Browse Beatport, Juno, or whatever download site you use, and for every gem there are 20 same-sounding duds. People just aren't paying attention anymore, and the quality suffers to the listener. Every now and then, there is a gem which actually will make you stop and say 'Wow, that's good!', but much of it is just blasé, and we neglect to notice the little things.

    "Good equipment and higher fidelity undoubtedly enhances the experience, but it’s no substitute for really, truly, deeply tuning in to the music that’s playing, and to me what's vital here is our listening environment and the attention we give to the recording while we're in it."


    "Ask yourself: when was the last time you gave whatever new music that came into your life your full attention, closing your eyes and giving yourself over to the sound? And not just to block out work or the world around you, but because the music makers who created those sounds gave their heart and soul and sweat to make that recording as good as it could possibly be in their hands?"

    Well, the last CD that really caught me was "Compounds+Elements", a compilation of ambient music from All Saints Recordings. In particular, three tracks stood out: Brian Eno - Neroli, Harold Budd - Widows Charm, and Jon Hassell - Out Of Adedara. They were all quiet, relaxing pieces, with waves of sound containing minute little changes in them that really made for an enjoyable listening experience. I paid attention to the detail that went into it, which was exquisite. I felt good knowing that I had discovered this piece that made me feel different about music, whereas many other pieces I hear I either never paid attention to or just took for granted.

  23. thinking about this issue a little more, i am wondering how many people make music for the purpose of people sitting there listening to it intently like that, almost studying it. it seems to me like most music serves a function: dance music to make people dance, thrash metal to make people get fired up and excited, etc. sure it is nice to realise the full depth of the production of the music you own, but i dont think it is always the best way to listen to music. in fact, i doubt it is even usually the best way.

    that said, i'm the kind of person who doesn't just sit there with music on when i'm at the computer. in fact, i'm working at the record shop right now and no one is in here and i didn't get any new records today, so no music is playing. i think people actively ignoring music is the problem, not people listening to music while doing other things. i know even something like cleaning the house is much more fun when you have good music playing while you do it.

    i do study my music for use in my deejaying, but that is not a typical use for most peoples' music.

  24. one other thing to point out regarding one commenter's talk about eno: eno himself said that ambient music is supposed to be ignored. it has a purpose too, though it is still rewarding if listened to intently. that's just not the reason it was created to sound as it does.

  25. @ Pipecock: I strongly, strongly disagree that music is used for its intended function, or even that it's necessarily written for a given function. This is one of the reasons why I never use the expression 'dance music' - it's all about assigning a proper function, and quite often on RA you get these anti-intellectual fuckwits commenting something like

    'Hey, stop over-intellectualising and shut up and dance. It's all about dancing and partying, man...'

    Of course it *can* be, but why be so prescriptive? And why, in telling people the way they should be listening to the music they like, are you trying to negate the way they prefer to?

    One thing about ambient music is that, yes, it can be wallpaper, but it can also sound really, really, really good turned up very loud. Gas, Vlad, and yes, Eno.

    The 'problem' as I see it with ambient is that it's bad for business. Bars and clubs don't like it, 'cos it makes people contemplative. It makes you sit down and think, rather than stand up and buy drinks....

    ...if anyone's interested in an immersive listen that's ambient but full-on and also very political, get a copy of Terre Thaemlitz' 'Soil'. Really amazing and intense.

    Also, thank you very much to everyone for what has been a really stimulating and enjoyable debate so far.

  26. Talking about musical 'function' I'm surprised no-one's mentioned what I think is probably it's number one functional context - Driving.

    Especially 'dance' music, lots of people listen to it while driving their cars.

    As to 'dance' music - I always thought it a terribly naff way to describe it. After all, a great proportion of rock and pop was originally made for 'dancing', e.g. rock'n'roll, soul, R&B, 60s British rock. Think about Strauss - he didn't write those waltzes for sitting down! Even though that's the way you listen to it now at the Vienna New Year's concert. Contexts change over time, is what I think I'm trying to say, so categorising house and techno as 'dance' music is just silly (as if you can't dance to Martha Reeves and the Vandellas - for shame!).

  27. if they ask, i generally tell people i like 'dance music' because I like imagining what this conjures in their minds...

  28. @ Teleost: actually, I avoid talking to people (who don't know) about the music I like.

    This is not snobbery, I just got sick of unproductive conversations full of fear and loathing.

    Never proselytize, either.

  29. ...what about all the kids in Paris (and other places in Europe) who listen to the latest tunes on their mobile speakers on the train... now that's a new context...

    ...and what ever happened to the ghetto blaster? It's not like the ghetto has disappeared...

    ...a great way to take space, that one. I recall Do the Right Thing.

  30. "...what about all the kids in Paris (and other places in Europe) who listen to the latest tunes on their mobile speakers on the train... now that's a new context..."

    eurgh this is one of my least favourite things.

    maybe i should start telling people i like sugababes instead haha!

    wait i do like them.

  31. re: Ghetto Blasters ... I don't actually think they are used for 'listening' per se - as you say about 'taking space' it's about the marking and control of territory by young males. At least as in the way they are in 'do the Right Thing' - the dispute over the blaster is a territorial control thing.

    Like bird song.

    That's why teleost don't like them portable speakers on the metro none! Actually why it upsets people in general - it's not about music, it's about territorial control. In cities such "public" spaces are bound by rules of stranger engagement that are a supposed to preclude aggressive displays of individual spatial occupation. Hence panics about 'hoodies' in shopping centres.

    On the other hand, cars are used as a 'private' listening space - or a small shared space with intimate associates. So I do think they become 'listening' spaces, to at least some extent.

    Although there is an amount of young male territorial marking in the way 'hot' cars are fitted with those big subwoofers.

  32. As it's so easy to find new music, at least my iTunes library gets a bit crammed and I have a hard time finding the time to listen to music undistracted. Some music demand more of an active listen. On the other hand, listening through techno-EPs while doing other stuff works just fine - although sometimes it just blends together and I have to go back, relisten and rate it properly.
    I do make sure I listen to music on proper equipment though. That's essential to me - no-good sound, no-good music. I also make sure to play (techno and house) music on proper volumes. Some bass-lines are just to subtle to pick out on too low a volume. As far as listening on the go, I'm a big fan. I lost my ipod on new years eve though, and so far it's a it of a relief not hearing music constantly. Makes it more special.

    "Does anyone else have any stories about a new pair of phones, speakers etc that 'changed everything'?"

    After replacing what must have been a faulty cable that I had had for some time, I really started to enjoy listening to techno and house at home. It brought out some weight and base I had been sort of fine not having before.

  33. Nice topic and something I've been thinking of quite a lot recently because only within the last couple of months I've made a real effort to give the music (and myself) the time it deserves.

    Buying the Allen & Heath Xone62 mixer has made a MASSIVE impact. It has started making me buy (collect) vinyl again and got me away from the Internet/TV or other distractions. I make a point of spending between one and two hours most week nights listening to old and new vinyl both for DJ'ing purposes and just for the listening experience which includes a lot of the ssgs mixes of course ;)

    Ha, I've even started to order my records on a Tuesday evening so that they'll arrive on Thursday meaning I can enjoy listening to them with a few beer and a smoke on my own... It's hard to think of anything I get more personal satisfaction from :)


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