At Granville and 41st Avenue inVancouver, BC, as we were waiting for our left turn signal Rosemary and I watched a pleasant young man in work boots cross while listening to music. He did not have earbuds but what looked like a good set of earphones. I asked Rosemary if she thought the young man could daydream, think or even worry about anything. He may have been pretty tired as he was wearing work boots. I wonder if the space between speakers in a room and one’s ears provides one with a sort of separation that will allow thought while with the earbuds secured the music in your head trumps everything else.
My friend Newyorican Robert Blake says that music can sound pretty good as MP3 files listened to through earbuds. He cited as an example David Bowie’s latest digital offering.
I am not all that convinced even though I am not an extreme audiophile who will tell you that records are warmer than CDs or that an MP3 file passed through a tube amplifier will sound great.
For most of my life I had stereo equipment that I could afford and never the kind of stuff that would make me salivate when I read about it in Stereo Review.
Now that stereo equipment is affordable used, because most people are content with the convenience of MP3 files that can be listened to anywhere and privately, few it would seem jump at the opportunity. Those MP3s in those portable devices have the added benefit of having long playlists which can be listened to privately while commuting, cycling or doing hot yoga.
What few seem to understand is that the act of listening to music in a living room or den with friends and or family is a something that is disappearing as we all retreat into the digital cocoon.
I have a very good NAD amplifier and tuner, a fairly good JVC tape deck, a Sony linear tracking turntable and until recently a high-end Sony CD player. It is the latter that brings me to write this.
The CD player stopped working a few days ago. I went to the Sony Store on Granville to buy a new one. The store was gone. I walked a few blocks to Future Shop to find that they did not sell CD players as they are not made anymore. I priced cheap DVD players and bought one for $30 at London Drugs. It even came with a remote. But the DVD player could not tell me how many tracks a DVD had. I could not skip; let’s say from track 2 to track 20 by pressing a button. The remote had arrows in two different directions and I had to keep pressing it until the track sounded like the one I wanted to listen to.
In desperation yesterday I called (I should have had this desperation/inspiration sooner) Lotusland Electronics and Music — Premium Pre Owned on 2660 Alma Street. There I found a wonderful Denon CD player for which I paid $42. I am a happy camper. Since yesterday afternoon I have been on a Handel opera kick courtesy of the Vancouver Public Library. 1. Sirse with Anne Sofie von Otter 2. Tamerlano with Nancy Argenta and directed by John Eliot Gardiner. 3. Ariodante with Sofie von Otter Tomorrow my friend Graham Walker will be visiting. He is bringing some baroque CDs and we will sit down in the living room to listen to music together. After all I have to show off my Denon deck, a deck I could not have afforded years ago!
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.