The Week I Became an Audiophile: Introduction

It doesn't take special ears to become an audiophile... just perhaps some doctor's orders to listen to music. Join our marketing associate Jo for a week of product testing and reflection on what the word "audiophile" truly means. 

Tuesday, 3/3/15: Introduction

At this current moment I sit in the Timonium store, specifically in a black leather BDI recliner, listening to Led Zeppelin from Totem Metal Speakers. Instead of a 16” Mac screen I stare at a tiny black notebook covered in WTMD stickers as I write. The sales guys and coworkers of mine take care of me by changing playlists and dimming lights. Bruce introduced me earlier to a fabulous massage chair we have on the floor in aim of helping my neck… but that’s another story.

I’m doing all of this and getting such undeserved special treatment due to the fact that I’ve been suffering migraines (the first, and worst I’ve ever had) since Saturday morning… so, for four days straight now. I was badly rear-ended in a 4 car accident on York Road two Fridays ago, and my doctors guess my migraines are due to neck pain and muscle damage. Her advice? “Stay away from LED screens.” (I’m our marketing associate and resident graphic designer -- so that’s impossible.) “If you can’t, I might have to pull you out of work.”

Uh-oh, I think to myself as a weird twisted grin plays upon my lips. I’ve been at Gramophone only three months now, exactly. I have work to do. No way I’m missing out.

Eventually she continues to suggest activities. “You could read. But still, your eyes are straining… just find something calming to do. Listen to the radio.”

What a novel idea.

I am an easily distracted person. If I watch a movie, and am not cuddling with my boyfriend and our dog, I am also texting, completing crosswords on my phone, and/or shopping on my laptop with old gift cards. If I’m listening to music, I am playing rummy, or chess, or painting (what else do young hip 25-year-old’s do?). I am a visual person - so even though I love music, and work a hallway down from hundreds of pieces of high-end listening equipment, “listen to the radio” is a challenging command.

I am one to hate doctor’s orders, usually, especially if they include a large amount of rest and inactivity. Luckily Gramophone is the most convenient place I could’ve ended up at to heal my poor concussed brain.

My digs for the weekON LISTENING 

The rock playlist keeps looping. Luckily Bruce is able to help me change my listening selection with the convenient Meridian Sooloos by my side. Now Chopin plays as I relax and write. Luckily a bit of graphic design and copywriting can be done on paper, and my marketing supervisor is very sympathetic to my situation, but I find it difficult to just sit and listen. Perhaps the pain is a blessing this way.

I admire the audiophile. My genetics have granted me a good ear for music, but not for sound. I can’t discern a good speaker from a bad speaker… or a worse from a better, should I say. I can’t tell how vinyl sounds different from digital hifi streaming. Hopefully this week I can try to do so - to hear nuances instead of notes, timbre and depth of waves instead of flat pitches and rumbling volume. To do this, I’m sure, is either a genuine gift, or an amply studied and perfected art.

Listening is more than being immersed in sound - it changes noise into voices, lyrics into meaning, music into emotion. As someone so mentally scattered and anxious, my listening skills are not up to audiophile standard. So today, I practice listening, mindful awareness, closing my eyes and hearing which sounds bounce where, what is and is not pleasant to me, which speakers dictate which genres best. I’m excited for this deviation from my routine of graphics and web edits to further studying the art that keeps Gramophone in business.

Stay tuned.

Join us in early May for our Spring event, the Evolution of Audio, where you too can discover all the latest technology and listening experiences Gramophone has to offer. Click here for more information and to RSVP today!