michaelgb

what is it with musicians and hifi

Recommended Posts

I'm a musician and i like Hifi.  I've heard it said before that most musicians are not that fussed over hifi and in particular the high end stuff. 

 Have you found musicians a bit indifferent to hifi gear ? and if so why do you think this is ?

I can only speak for myself so i'll say as an example that my physical Zildjian 22" K ride cymbal sounds way way more interesting to me sonically  than any hifi "sounds" I've yet heard.

Sort of similar  (but different) with a song or piece of music. the song and performance is way more interesting than the reproduction of it via speaker/hifi. 

Edited by michaelgb
so i could appear smarter
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, michaelgb said:

Have you found musicians a bit indifferent to hifi gear ? and if so why do you think this is ?

I know and have known several musicians.  Male and female. 

I'll attempt to answer this question, but there are several caveats which must be listed:

  • I am not a musician myself
  • I've never directly asked them the question you are asking, but it is a good question
  • The musicians I know perform or have performed in public, but they're not exactly Itzhak Perlman, Herb Alpert, or John Eliot Gardiner
  • The musicians I know are not full-time performers.  The closest to full-time musicians I know are performance professors and teachers
  • The musicians I know mostly perform classical or jazz music
  • None are conductors except for one performance professor who does some conducting

So, with that said, here we go:

  • I don't think any of these musicians have anything better than what can be described as being 'good department store stuff'.  That is to say fairly mainstream components from the likes of Pioneer, Sony, Technics, Kenwood, JVC, Yamaha, Akai, Polk, JBL, Bose, etc.  Some just have those shelf all-in-one systems.
  • The musicians who have Pioneer type stuff think they have very good equipment.  They probably know it's not the best, but they think it is good.  It's hard to argue with them, it is pretty damn good stuff in some cases.
  • Like I said, these musicians aren't Herb Alpert.  Most have other non-musical day jobs and so there are financial and time limitations.
  • Money spent on Hi-Fi is money that can't be spent on instruments, albums, concert tickets, travel, sheet music, and so forth and all of those may have higher priorities.  A couple of musicians would rather be instrument snobs than Hi-Fi snobs, I do know that.  Also, a few musicians I know are also record collectors.
  • For some of them, really involving themselves in music means reading it and not listening to it.  At best, it involves reading and listening, but perhaps with more focus on the former.
  • I have known a few musicians who have been interested in audio equipment, but on the recording side of things instead of the playback side.  It seems the issue there isn't so much about having the right equipment, but rather the knowledge of how to make it work the way it is supposed to work.
  • I don't think any of the musicians I know listen to their home stereos all that loudly.  They may push their work systems a little louder if they are teaching a group of students, but they aren't paying for their work stereos with their own money.

So that raises some questions:

  • Perhaps the ultimate musical experience for them isn't just listening to it?
  • Perhaps they feel that there are some limitations with recorded music and so a pursuit of perfection in that regard will always lead to a dead end?
  • Perhaps they feel the equipment they have now is accurate enough?
  • Perhaps with extreme knowledge of music, one does not need to hear in high detail to really get a deep experience with the music?  With their knowledge, they can mentally fill in some gaps which exist in the recording or in the playback?
  • Perhaps they think audiophiles are more concerned with electronic tinkering than music?
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why are there loads of posts about youths, women, musicians and why they won't adopt this frankly insane, dying hobby recently 

Strange 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My ex wife was a classically trained violinist and choral singer and sang in a couple of blues bands and was part a large choir/orchestra that toured the UK we met.

Initially my hifi was tolerated/ encouraged ....when we got engaged and I sold my appartment she got the trad diamond ring, I got my MF A1000 Class A amp 😀.

Over time and as our two daughters arrived the hifi got used less and she actively denegraded it ......'we' ended up packing it away and used a £200 micro system? 

I always found it odd that for someone for whom music had been at the core of her life for over 20 years was so ambivalent to recorded music quality.  

At least when we parted I came away with my hifi kit which came back into use when I met Jane and she both enjoys listening to the hifi ....esp with films etc and knows it's part of my mental well being etc 😁

  • Like 4
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, MF 1000 said:

and knows it's part of my mental well being

This is an interesting statement and one with which I "resonate"... (sorry I hate that but seems appropriate), could be a factor though, My mrs and her mother are very protective / engaged with / emotionally attached to their instruments. One of the reasons I have a lot of gear is some backups in case some thing breaks, that would be upsetting.

Edited by dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, MF 1000 said:

I always found it odd that for someone for whom music had been at the core of her life for over 20 years was so ambivalent to recorded music quality. 

Well, probably the response to this is what I wrote up at the top right after OP posted, but your comment did lead Klassik's brain to fire off a somewhat related thought:

The era before recorded music is now long, long in the past, but I wonder if any musicians feel a bit slighted by recorded music.  After all, if people wanted music in their house or their parties in the era before recordings on discs, cylinders, rolls, and so forth, they either had to perform it themselves or hire professional musicians.  I really doubt there are many people feeling this way now because recorded music is a given here in the 2020s, but in some ways recorded music and Hi-Fi have taken away from the artisan class.  Wasn't that what the Luddites were going on about in the 19th century?  xD

I suppose the counterargument to that is that recorded music has allowed almost the entire population to appreciate music in a way that wasn't possible before in the past.  Maybe that has opened up more opportunities for musicians than recordings have taken away, but I reckon that might be hard to measure.  I remember hearing similar arguments around 20 years ago when MP3s and music piracy was the hot topic.  :S

I could see some starving musician hearing some audiophile go on about how they've spent thousands of dollars on cables in order to get more lifelike sound and wonder why they just didn't hire a musician to actually perform for them.  :shock:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MF 1000-

"....part of my mental well being."

That is perhaps the most quotable thing I have read in a hi fi forum!

Love it.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was a semi-pro musician & worked in studios as well as playing live. A lot of my mates are still pro musicians, none of em are hifi enthusiasts.

We’ve had the conversation....... why do think long & hard over  which particular cymbal, guitar, mic, amp, effects etc etc to use when you are recording an album yet don’t care whether the gear people listen to the end result on is good enough to discern those differences?
The answer is invariably a shrug of the shoulders & me being told to stop being such a geek.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I am back to my full time occupation, travelling extensively in the U.K. (Europe may take a little longer! ) my hifi is my 'relaxation/de stressing' device.....listening to it planning on tweaks etc for me is a great method of unwinding or refocusing etc.  Not always possible during weekdays if I'm in Cornwall etc, but the deep dive at weekends topped up by finding new music/bands etc via listening to Spotify on planes/ in hotel rooms is part of my balance in life.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was a professional musician for 15 years, worked in lots of studios, toured, etc. I was always into hifi but the limiting factor was my lack of cash to buy any great stuff! I’d say that has to be part of it for a lot of musicians. I’ve still got lots of friends in the industry and they are a mixed bag with hifi. One guy has an incredible £100k set up and another guy just a random collection of separates he hardly uses. I did notice that my passion for listening to music dramatically increased after I finished working in music. I think like all passions if you are in a studio all day with loud Monitoring or on tour the last thing you want to do is play more loud music when you get home. I now work as an illustrator and friends say oh you must be drawing all the time but the answer is only for money! After I’ve worked all day again the last thing I want to do it more drawing so then the hifi comes on. Hifi for most of us is a hobby so when it gets mixed with work then you limit it.

Cheers

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator

I have one or two friends and a few acquaintances who are musicians, most are semi-professional, but a couple would be known to many.

Altough partly it's that they realise you cannot achieve the 'live performance' using conventional audio equipment, it's mostly the 'busman's holiday' argument. Quite simply, if you've just spent a couple of months on the road playing to audiences, the absolute last thing you'd feel like doing is coming home and putting an LP on. They listen to other people's music for inspiration or interest, but really care little about the quality of replay as long as they can hear it.

Don't for a minute think that the madness of this hobby argument doesn't equally apply to musicians though. We might obsess and laugh over cable lifters, but lutiers will almost fight to the death over the best 1950s pickups and I know of one who is fussy about the correct mounting screws, as he claims the mix of metals used can affect the magnetic field.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kondo cartridge mounting screws/bolts here we come ! 

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I play a Ukulele.. Does that make me a musician? Im pretty good..i hate hifi..i reckon one of those micro systems would suit me fine..in fact when I'm old and doddery..im sure ill have a micro system..of course by then I'll probably be deaf so it wont matter..lol

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ralph Todes is a former violinist with the Allegri (quartet, quintet?) and was emplyed for a time by HFW as a hifi journalist and reviewer. As a consequence of being a musician he provided a fresh perspective in hifi reviewing. First, I formed the impression that he was neutral vis a vis manufacturers, second, he could write and thirdly he put musical values first - could this or that piece of equipment recreate the illusion of real musicians in a real space. Also he was keen on the correct placement of the orchestra's musician in the soundstage.

I dont know if Todes is still in hifi but if a bunch of HFW from say, 2 years and before  came up I would go for those.

Take 5 , who stole the show on the Wam a few years ago, rocketing up the hifi pecking order culminating in the purchase and restoration of an Audionote IO cartridge, was a professional saxophonist I happen to know. At the time he grasped the whole thing with huge enthusiasm. Since then he has spectacularly sold the lot off and departed from the Wam (in reverse order). (But that was the old 'vindictive' Wam..

Tony Bolton wrote an article in HFW wherein he interviewed members of a working orchestra and asked them this very question of their interest in hifi. I remeber one thing that came out of that was that they preferred older recordings (1970s, Kingsway Hall for example) because of the miking prevalent then.

Tom (montesquieu), someone I still keep in touch with and known to several on here despite his absence from the Wam and AoS these days, is a very capable musician, teaches playing several different instruments, and has a Masters degree in music. He owns an amazing system and invests a large amount of time energy and cash in the hifi world.

I am not drawing any conclusions from these few sketches, but just providing something of interest from my experience which others might follow up on.

In my case I am competition standard modern jiver, love music, but cant play a note on any musical instrument.

Jack

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer

I freely admit this is a very small sample so hard to draw general conclusions from but I have noted a little difference in the music world in general . Those musicians that play an instrument are often as has been said here very much uniterested in equipment and seem almost oblivious to the change in quality from a portable radio to a full system . However singers on the other hand seem very sensitive to the quality of yes youve guessed it the voice. When I have played them a song they know well and a voice they know well on my main system they often become quite animated and make comments such as that is exactly how that person sounds , that is very realistic . They then seem to quite good at ignoring the quality of the music playing .

Edited by bencat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.