My mother used to love to listen to my audio system when she visited. But after she got hearing aids she has stopped enjoying it. When I asked her why, she said that the music sounded distorted. In talking to her audiologist I learned that they a) want patients to wear the hearing aids all the time because "it takes brain quite some time to adjust to the new sound levels and get comfortable with them and switching back and forth just confuses the brain," and b) the hearing aids just amplify the sound range between 2kHz and 8kHz. So, if she is wearing the hearing aids the audio system sounds different than what she was used to and if she isn't wearing them it also sounds different than she has now become used to, either case making music enjoyment much less pleasurable.
I'm curious if any CA'ers have an informed views on this. In particular, I'm interested in the notion that it takes the brain time to "relearn" how to hear with the adjusted frequency levels. That seems very different than putting on a pair of glasses and seeing clearly, instantly. And, if this relearning takes time, how much is what each of us thinks "sounds great" just a function of how we have heard it over the recent time frame? Does it mean that a system "sounds good to us" because it sounds like the one we are most used to? Is that why kids can get used to ear-buds and then not appreciate a great sound system when the first hear it, because, to them, it doesn't sound natural?
Ultimately, what is the right answer for a person who wears hearing aids and still wants to listen to her favorite recordings?
Informed thoughts much appreciated.
Read more: Audio memory and hearing aids
Forgive me Computeraudiophiles, for I have sinned
I’ve been a devoted digital music listener for a long time. I’ve gone the Mac, Linux and Windows routes (currently Windows). I’m using an SLC SSD OS drive with a Pachanko Sata cable and linear power supplies to power my server, external hard drive and router. My current player of choice is XXHighend. I’m using the Berkeley Alpha Reference 2 DAC and a Mutec clock. I could go on, but you get the idea. I’ve been committed to making my digital sound the best I possibly could.
The convenience of digital combined with the fact that I can constantly tweak my signal chain to further improve the sound has always been attractive to me. And I’ve loved the sound.
Friends have hounded me to get into vinyl. And, as good as vinyl has sounded, given the very considerable expense of getting very good sound and the additional trouble of playing albums, I haven’t been sold.
But something changed all of that.
Reel to reel tape.
Believe me, I know the issues. First, if albums are inconvenient, tape is even more so. When is the last time you had to rewind a vinyl album? I suppose the time to thread a tape onto a machine and cueing up an album aren’t that different.
But then there’s music catalog availability. I’m only interested in playing 15 ips (inches per second) two track tapes. The availability of those tapes is very limited and for those recently recorded, crazy expensive. You can spend up to $500 and more for an album. Even a really good 2500 foot blank tape can run $70+ dollars with aluminum reel. And then you’ll only get 33 minutes of recording time at 15 ips.
If the story ended there, I would have said stayed away from the reel to reel option.
But, and I know for some this will be controversial, I’ve been listening to ripped CD’s recorded onto tape and loving it. Have I made my copy of the music more accurate than the source? Of course not. I know the copied version is a “colored” copy of the original. And I don’t care. For this audiophile, it’s smoother richer and highlights how far digital still has to go. I could far more easily listen to my reel to reel player for five hours at a time than my digital system. And I still love my digital system . . . but now, just not as much.
A few comments about replies to this post.
If you want to debate the benefits of custom sata cables, linear power supplies and the like, please do it on the thousand other threads on this site which do that.
If you want to question the value of spending so much money on a dac or using a clock, please do that elsewhere as well. That’s not the point of this thread.
If, on the other hand, you want to tell me you have a digital system which matches or exceeds the enjoyment factor you have had from reel to reel tape, please chime in.
Other comments or questions are welcome as well. I’m very new to this reel to reel part of the hobby and, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned above, won’t abandon the digital part of my system. But it’s a heck of a lot harder to go back to now.
Read more: Forgive me Computeraudiophiles, for I have sinned