Yes its true; Hi-Fi makes music better.
Good quality sound seems to be something that many people don’t value any more.
It started in the 80’s when CD players came out. The size of CD players meant that manufacturers pandered to customers who wanted Hi-Fi that was smaller and smaller. Presumable the desire to own smaller stereos was driven by the boom in sales of trinkets and frippery that people use to fill their lounges.
The rot really set in when Apple launched the i-Pod and almost single handedly downgraded the sound quality of everybody’s music to MP3. Admittedly the i-Pod is an extremely clever device and it is wonderful to take your entire album collection with you wherever you go (well as long as there is a mains charger somewhere nearby) but in taking i-Tunes at face value we threw the baby out with the bathwater. In fact it got so bad that many people got rid of the stereo system and replaced it with a i-Pod docking system. With a small number of exceptions it is impossible to call this equipment Hi-Fi. Hi-Fi means high fidelity or high truth. In order for that to be an accurate statement the equipment has to be capable of reproducing music accurately. Most of it does not.
Clearly we’re in the business of trying to change this and I want to make some bold statements to start the ball rolling. The first of these is that music is such a wonderful thing that each of us needs to have it in their life. But it gets much better when appreciated at its best and I am not talking about a little either.
From inside the womb babies love music. The rhythm perhaps reminds them of their mothers heartbeat but studies have proven that children exposed to music in the womb are more intelligent and more likely to succeed. Young children rock their bodies to music and grin from ear to ear with uninhibited pleasure. We all start off this way and only later does life beat this out of us and our inhibitions teach us to conform and not to “let ourselves go” (unless with the assistance of vodka….)
Good quality sound makes it easier for music to communicate with us better. It does this because it is easier for our brain to understand the melody of the music. This isn’t rocket science. Imagine reading a book with every fourth word erased; it is perfectly possible but will lead to you becoming tired very quickly and also getting confused about the meaning. The end result is you’d only read for short periods of time.
Music is the same. Most people tend to listen to music for either short periods of time or whilst they are doing something else. That’s all very well and I have no problem with it at all but if you are not sitting down properly to listen to music upon occasion then your stereo system isn’t good enough.
In most houses the telly is on all the time. The same people who watch the telly claim to have no time to listen to music but the fact of the matter is their minds have become numbed by soaps and reality TV. Did you know that even sleeping uses more calories than watching television?
We sell an audio system made by Rega Research in England that costs less than £1500 for a CD playing system and less for a record playing system. This system communicated music so well that it can change your life. Some would say that is a lot of money but it isn’t; most of you spend that on phones over a five year period. Also the depreciation on your car will be twice that every year. It is all a matter of priority.
You see a lot of people say “I can’t tell the difference” or “you need special ears” or “I can’t be bothered with all that stuff” but really that’s a load horse manure. There is no such thing as a special ear for a start (except maybe one grown on the back of a mouse) and what people are really saying is that they don’t understand it. But in reality you don’t need to understand it you need to open your mind and listen to it.
We’ve had listening rooms since our shop opened 27 years ago. It isn’t some booth of terror but a lounge rather like the one you have at home. In our lounge we have no candles and other frippery and we put the speakers where they will sound the best; as opposed to being hidden by a TV so large that it appears like the Monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001.
In our lounge EVERYONE can hear the difference. I’m not being smug or self-serving; when anyone sits down in our demo room and listens to a piece of music they know, their perceptions change. They usually smile or look amazed. Nor am I talking about demonstrating our best systems either. Sometimes we set up a system based on components that are second hand or on special offer. Sometimes we can get a system down to well under a thousand pounds. Even then the customer is pretty much amazed at the quality of sound.
Many people tell us that they can’t tell the difference between the sound on their i-Pod and on a CD player. We can easily prove them wrong to the degree that they nod their heads and agree with us.
The reason why I am labouring the point (other than because it is worth labouring) is because we’ve all been taught to expect less than we deserve and it isn’t fair. Music is one of the greatest joys of human existence and it has been traded down to something tacky and bit crap.
Shops like ours can help! We’re music lovers and we know about hi-fi because it is the delivery method of the music that we love. We won’t lie to you and tell you that you can have tiny small speakers that are so small no one will see them. That isn’t true (or if you can it will sound terrible and that makes it pretty much pointless in our experience) but what we will do is listen to your requirements and try to find a way to satisfy all of them WITHOUT selling you something unfit for the job.
It is likely that if you’re reading this after browsing our website you will be partially converted to some of the message I’m preaching. Your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to share this with people you know to be music lovers.
Frankly it amazes me how many people are passionate about music but not about sound quality. I find it an immense issue that I have failed to get past in the 32 years in which I have worked for Moorgate Acoustics. It makes me angry but more than that it makes me sad! I have the tools, the products and the will to change this for as many people as I possible can but I do need your help.
Let me get something out front; we’re a business ( a small one) and we are in business to make money in order to survive. That said we are still in business because we respect our customers and care about their experience in dealing with us and their enjoyment of music at home. We’ve endured three recession and it has been customer loyalty that has enabled us to ride out the economic storms caused by successive, inept governments.
The above M3 costs £56,000 and is undoubtedly a fine car. Two years later this same car with very low mileage books at £29,500. This gives some indication of the sort of money people have routinely got used to losing on cars. You could use the same example for a Mini or a VW Polo.
Conversely a hi-fi system will last up to thirty years and often more. We know this because we still see customers who purchased systems from us 33 years ago and many of them are going strong. Many point out how remarkable it has been in terms of value for money and listening pleasure.