I've never really considered myself to be a Hi Fi fanatic; someone who obsesses about speakers, amplifiers and decks, but at the same time I wouldn't describe myself as a technophobe either. I am a big fan of music though and I have a group of like minded friends, many of whom do obsess over the latest audio equipment and Hi Fi reviews.
As a result of this apparent dichotomy some of the conversation I have with my circle of music loving friends can be a bit one sided. I can argue for hours about why The Dixie Chicks are more subversive than The Sex Pistols or why much of what passes as pop music today is akin to watching an athelete warm up rather than watching the actual race but at the first mention of watts or speaker plugs I'm lost for words.
It's not that I'm not interested in what I play my music on and I've read enough Hi Fi reviews to know that the quality of the music I hear can be improved by buying better stereo equipment. It's not even that I only listen to music on my computer or iPod, it's just that I've never had the opportunity or the need to look into buying some decent Hi Fi equipment of my own, until now.
Most of the Hi Fi equipment that I have owned has been portable or small. The first player I can remember owning was a rather large, although not for the time, Walkman cassette player. In the 25 years since then I've owned a few portable stereos, or 'ghetto blasters' as they were know, and today I own an iPod Nano on which I listen to most of my music. When put like that it doesn't seem like much of a change in all those years really. I'm still wearing small headphones and keeping my player in my coat pocket!
I have toyed with the idea of buying a new Hi Fi for some time now but I've never been able to justify it, for several different reasons. There was, of course, a time when I just couldn't afford it. Much as I would have liked the latest Hi Fi system with turntable and multi CD player included that all the Hi Fi reviews seemed to be saying was the best thing since sliced bread, it was always out of my reach financially.
The other main reason has been that I just don't get the chance to sit down and listen to music that much. Most of the music I listen to is on the move on my iPod or even on my phone and sometime on the radio in the car. The justification of spending several hundred pounds on something that I might use once a week was always a little ridiculous.
When not listening to my iPod I've made do with using my computer and a couple of cheap speakers to listen to CDs on. It's not bad but it's not great either. In fact it's listening to CDs on the computer that has led me to searching out a new Hi Fi.
A lot of my favourite artists are going through a period of reflection, or re-issue, as it is also known. I've bought a second, re-mastered version, of several great albums I own and when comparing the sound quality I've been quite amazed. How good would they sound if I had a decent stereo I thought?
So recently I've poured over the latest Hi Fi reviews and picked out the one that best suits me. It has all the usual stuff and a USB port, iPod dock and can play discs with MP3 files on it, perfect. All I need to do know is work out how to use it!
Dominic Donaldson is an expert in the technology industry.
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