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Booting Up

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Before we go any further, you probably want to know whether you should spend any more time with this blog. I need to introduce and explain myself.


First, the executive summary version:


I am not, by my reckoning, an audiophile. I'm not really expert at much of anything. I do love music, always have, always will. Bring it on.


I am increasingly interested in good-sounding music because my hearing is fading (after all, I am over 70 years old and have some tinnitus at that) and not so long ago made the wonderful discovery that I can actually appreciate music more if I take better care in selecting and managing my audio hardware and software.


Well into retirement age, I am nevertheless obliged to continue working (I'm a programmer at an ISP) as long as possible, so I am constrained by a very, very tight budget.


I'm guessing that there may be a few others out there in similar straits or who can at least relate when I tend to wax nostalgic (my wife has not-so-gently suggested at times that I try to seek out somebody else who might be willing to listen to my enthusiasms), so I plan to discuss my strategies and missteps and successes and offer opinions, ill-advised or not. My lack of anything truly audiophiliac may make my observations useful only to newbies and fellow bottom-feeders who just like music. And I intend to present my quandaries and naivete in hope that some more experienced souls will mercifully intervene.


Oh, yeah. Guess I should turn out my pockets so you can see where I am coming from (as a serious photographer, I am often in disdain of the notion that equipment has much to do with the quality of the image, but in this case, I can understand that people want to know). Here is a quick inventory:


(Sidebar: Once – pre-marriage/pre-kids – I drove a new Porsche 911; now I drive a 20-year-old Nissan. Just for some perspective.)

  • Home network with 10 – 12 active mix of Linux, Windows and Mac machines, at least three of which (not counting my kids' laptops) mainly serve up music
  • NAD T750 AV receiver (circa 1999)
  • Polk Audio RTA IIt towers (circa 1990)
  • Technics SL1300 turntable w/Grado-something cartridge (circa 1974)
  • assorted cables, some low-end AudioQuest, something with an Acoustic Research label, some old Monster Cable
  • Sennheiser HD424 (maybe 40 years old by now) headphones
  • Denon AHD-1100(I think?) headphones (appropriated by my son)
  • Fisher FA-002 headphones
  • Fisher Eterna earbuds
  • Grado SR-something headphones (appropriated by my daughter)
  • misc other Grado, Sennheiser and other ear apparatuses for portables
  • variety of iPods and Sansa portable players
  • ASUS Sonar Essence PCI Express
  • HRT Streamer II (two of these, the first of which propelled me headlong into some of this behavior)
  • new system in progress:
    • NAD C316BEE integrated amp
      PSB Image 6 speakers, destined for lead-filled stands (a story in itself)
      homebrew HTPC, up and running only a month ago, with Core i3, SSD, etc.

[*]software: audacity, EAC, foobar, audirvana, lots more in use and/or under investigation


I will almost certainly talk in future posts about why/how I ended up with this stuff and what I intend and hope to do about it.


Sorry to be so long-winded … and I thought that this was the executive summary version … I promise to try to show some restraint in the future.


Before I take my leave, I want to thank Chris for such a civil, useful and entertaining virtual venue. Best of the breed, as far as I am concerned.

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