The Algorithm of a Psychologist Reviewer.
The year is close to an end, that’s 2017 we are talking about. It’s Christmas time, and it’s time to bring out the champagne and time to relax. I have just finished the article about The Audiophile Person of the Year 2017, and I am sitting with everything off at 3:30 A.M enjoying the tempo of the rain outside.
I started the year with some awesome components, Audio Solutions, Audio Hungary, TelluriumQ, and so many brands I have enjoyed during this fall season. Now with over 100.000 USD worth of Synergistic Research total room treatment, the big Melco Streamer, the dazzling MSB Select, the Audio Solutions Vantage, and the Sigma 2.5 Orchestra to choose from speaker wise, not many people would complain about the gear at home. Later on, next year you will get to understand why all these have come together, but for now its not allowed to be let out. Amplifiers on the left of me, cables on my right, (stuck in the middle with you), I literally have practically any choice of mix and test to conduct within minutes. Instead of listening, I didn’t. I actually sat down and thought.
The first thing I thought of, and this is very important, is that the employees of the companies which I have reviewed, or not reviewed, it makes no difference, finally have a few days off to be with their families, and not sweat over our hobby. This might make them a wage, but that is far less than what we get from listening to their work. My hat is off, and I bow to them. Sincerely, I wish every one of them the best Christmas ever. The second thing that comes to mind is what am I going to do during the holidays? Sure, I will see my beloved sister and be with friends and family.
Is that enough to keep me happy?
I wonder. Will I listen to music during the holidays, and will I even care about how it sounds like, with so many parties and get together that will happen? No idea. The only thing that I can tell you is how much I have learn, loved, and grown during my time with all these handsome, incredibly built high-performance machines. Speaking of which, I picked that term up from a cable manufacturer and now use it quite often. This also brings me to the people behind the brand and the hardware. Those supporting the products I have the leisure to sit back and critique. From Stewart and L, to Geoff and P, oh my, how can I forget the unstoppable Kostas Metaxas, Aldo, who was so much more than I can write about. I saw Miro, George, met Matej, Frank, Panagioti, Alan, Nikos, Costas from here and Costas from there, and incessantly talked and enjoyed the company of very many special people this year. To them, I cannot do anything else than pray for their wellbeing and hope that as a community we can inspire each other to do the best we can in 2018.
The intensely wonderful Facebook crowd and online companies from the world, which 99% of the time were simply outstanding are included.
One small not here:
The peculiar thing was that I met more people in the TV and professional audio industry this year, including radio station network VIP’s, and found out they have nothing to do with audiophiles at all, in reality, they honestly didn’t even understand what the fuss is about….while in the back of my head, I thought these people working with music would be the biggest audiophiles of all.
The rain stopped. As it did, I realized something very disturbing about myself. The musicians who give everything they have to make an album, I didn’t think of at all. I didn’t think of Sony records, or any record label which bring us so many emotions during the years, and I wonder why. Could it be I have forgotten about the music? Unlikely. I love the music, reviewing or not, I love listening to it. So why do I not thank the musicians? I recognize something that I have not considered before in a long time. I don’t regard what they do as work. I regard it as an art which they willingly give out and tell their story with. I do not regard it even in the same sphere with anything that I do, and that is wrong.
I have paid for a lot of music this year, and for many years before this. This exchange of service for monetary value seems to be fair and square. I feel I do not owe them anything after this transaction. Doing so, I negate the artist as a human being, and decidedly buy a product. Is that it? Are all artists happy with sales alone or can they have enough with a good living, without extravagant extras in life? which ultimately, might cause their demise. Is that why most people are dying from drug abuse within this culture, and is that why depression is so high in this line of work?
What about the people of the past, the periods in classical whom I have not met? What about the kids in Africa whom I help to introduce in Europe? Is it all about the money? Is that the definition of success?
The answer unfortunately is yes. It’s not good enough to have music which is played throughout time, literally decades or centuries, but it has to be a hit for them to be happy. Then, I look at the Nautilus from B&W (for example), the products that changed the style of building a box, into an artform in speaker making, their creation alone was enough for us to be in awe. Did it have to be number one in sales? The creation of the Hologram X, a speaker which will change the shape of every speaker in the world in the near future. Not only with its technology but with its spirited, lively character that I remember writing about, “ it not only reproduces a kiss, but the actual lips!”
The MAAT, from Sigma, which blew me away, and made my entire knowledge of technology and speaker design go from 90 to 500 on the scale of experiencing live music. I treat these speakers, despite their very modest sales, as the best speakers of my year . I, as the listener, do not care about the quantity sold. I care firstly and mostly that they were actually made. This is what distinguishes equipment from music. One is appreciated as an object, no matter the sales, and the other only by sales, or it seems that way. At least to a large degree this seems to be real.
Only when the artists past, do I really suffer from the loss, and realize the quality of that singer or composer. We have lost so many in the past couple of years that it is hard to imagine music without them. Prince, Bowie, and the dozen more who have left their works behind and memories I have of their concerts or events. I look at my savvy and very desired paintings on my walls, and wonder, what about them? Is there art not valued on sales or cost alone, isn’t that a bad thing? A painter needs to make one painting. A singer needs to make that one song, and that is not enough, it has to be a best seller. It has to appeal to the majority. Otherwise, its not a hit. That sounds so unjust, but it is us, the listeners who have done this remarkable mistake, or is the marketing behind the music?
So, this Christmas, I will do what I know now I should have done during every holiday. Give my attention to the artists I listen to, their lives, their passions and needs, their history and how their works enrich my mind and soul as a human being. When I add it up, I see there is much emotion, time and space in my life I owe them. Like when I had my first heartbreak, or my first hip hop album. There are so many songs in my life, which have not made it to number one, yet are my reminder of the milestones in my personal life. I am sure this holds true for everyone.
I need to set aside the machine, and get back to the artist; not just his recording, as to not deny myself the full extent of which the art of music has. I fear I have not given them the justice they deserve or I have fallen into the scheme of numbers and positions on a chart without me realizing it.
Therefore, until new year, I will listen to the artist’s history, not the music alone. That will be my Christmas present to myself this year. Maybe we all should. It is their emotions and passion that comes through the speakers, it is their power and weakness which I desire and enjoy to hear. It’s the expression of life in all its forms that makes music so wonderful, and not the money I pay a company to give me a recording to play. It is not an object. It’s an allowance to view someone else’s life, which they have created through music. That is what I pay for. Not a product of their emotions.
I want to close this little moment by thanking the readers and the passionate creators of discussions during the past year. I wish all the bloggers in the music industry a safe, healthy, and joyful and peaceful great celebration!
To all a happy new year !