Welcome to the fourteenth installment of our Meet the Audiophile Style Community series. All previous installments can be found here, in the series index.
Please send me a message, email, or telegram if you'd like to participate. The response so far has been wonderful. It ranges from hardcore audiophiles to those who are more interested in numbers and graphs, and even people in the industry are eager to participate. This series is all about getting to know everyone and sharing a bit about yourself that others will find interesting.
Thanks for participating. I look forward to publishing more of these in the coming weeks and months.
Thanks to Audiophile Style community member @EdmontonCanuck for participating in volume fourteen of this series. As always, I love reading this stuff even more than publishing it. I say to myself after reading each one of these, you guys are so much more interesting than me.
1. General area of the world in which you live?
I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, but I moved to Edmonton, Alberta upon graduation from University in 1982. I've been here ever since.
2. General description of what you do or did for a living?
After graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, I worked as a System's Analyst for the Government of Alberta for several years and in the late 80's I and a friend formed a small software systems consulting company which we ran until our retirement a couple of years ago.
3. What are your hobbies?
Apart from my enjoyment of music, I'm an avid chess player. I also enjoy watching and collecting cinema/movies for my modest home theatre setup.
I also love to cook (and eat!) and enjoy drinking a nice bottle of wine with my family.
4. When did you start this wonderful journey into music listening?
In 2012 my work contract ended during a downturn in the Alberta economy and I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I decided to get into digitizing my modest CD music collection and set up a headphone listening station in my living room, and my journey into "higher-end" (I.e. non-iPod listening) started then.
5. What was your first “album?"
This is an interesting question, and I guess I have two answers. My very first "album" that I remember purchasing was Elton John's "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" on vinyl in 1975. I was 15 years old then, and my parents had a really cheap stereo system that they purchased from Zeller's (a value chain similar to "Target" for your American audience). I think this was actually the first time that I noticed a "stereo image" coming from a playback system and I was amazed by that (up until that time we mostly just had mono radios around the house).
When I decided to try higher-resolution music for the first time in 2012 with my headphone setup, my first "ah-hah" moment with that experience came from purchasing (and downloading) Cookie Marenco's Blue Coast Collection #1 and was equally amazed at how good I thought that sounded.
6. What does your music collection look like, number of physical records, CDs, etc... and number of “favorited” albums streamed?
My collection started out as CD's and SACD's, which I ripped and have stored on a NAS. I purchased an old Playstation 3 so I could rip my SACD collection. Since completing the ripping process, I only now ever purchase digital albums online through any of the various online sources.
My collection is largely Jazz and Folk music (vocals), with a smattering of rock albums from my youth, and also some Classical.
I stopped buying physical media at around 1500 albums, and am now up to about 2900 albums in total.
Roon reports just over 100 "favorited" albums that I listen to regularly.
7. What was your first audio component / stereo?
I'm going to assume you mean what was my first audio component since I started seriously with audio (that is, I won't count the Zeller's cheap-o system as a kid or my initial foray into home theatre with a mediocre 5.1 Bose surround system and inexpensive AVR).
That would a Woo Audio "Fireflies" tube headphone amplifier hooked up to a pair of Audeze LCD-3 headphones. That's it...that's what got me started.
8. Is there one component that you no longer have that you wish you wouldn’t have sold or that you wish you still had?
Honestly, no. I guess I'm still considered to be new to this wonderful hobby.
9. Is there one current component that you wish you had in your system?
Ah....where do I begin. I would have to say that even being a headphone guy, I would still love to have a really decent 2-channel setup, and for that, I guess it would be a really decent pair of speakers. I'd start there, and worry about amplification, vinyl sources, etc after that.
10. How much time do you spend listening to music each week and on which systems does this listening take place (main system, car system, mobile system, office system, etc...)?
I'm basically a home-body, so at least a couple of hours a day I enjoy listening to music. Most of this listening is through my main headphone setup, but I just recently started listening to music through my home theatre setup in the family room.
11. What’s the first concert you ever attended, best concert you’ve ever attended, most interesting concert venue you’ve ever attended?
I was a late comer to the concert scent. My first concert was in 1982 to see Journey and Steve Perry during their "Escape" tour in Winnipeg. The Greg Kihn Band opened for them (anyone remember "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em) ?"
The best concert I ever attended was a bit more laid back...I went to see Chris Botti during the 2012 Edmonton Jazz Festival. This was played in Edmonton's world class Winspear Centre which gets my vote for best concert venue I've ever attended (which, I suppose, makes it the most interesting!).
12. What components are in your current audio systems and can you provide a photo?
My main headphone system is a CAPS Pipeline server streaming my NAS collection through HQPlayer to a T+A DAC8DSD DAC and a Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL headphone amp. My headphones are the very excellent Focal Utopia's (I love these headphones!).
I just recently decided to hook up a spare DAC I had laying around (an exaSound e20 with upgraded clock) to my AVR in my home theatre setup. I set up a spare Mac mini to act as a Roon Bridge endpoint and am now enjoying music on that system while trying not to go stir crazy self quarantining. Roon is my playback software using an iPad Pro as a control point. By the way, Roon is awesome for setting up multiple listening zones for your music collection!
13. Anything else you’d like to say?
Just want to mention that I really appreciate the community of people participating here at CA. I've learned a lot from most of them, and browsing all the interesting new posts has become a part of my daily morning ritual. Thanks for a great forum Chris and keep up the great work!
Dave Macpherson (EdmontonCanuck)