In the 20 years since I graduated from university, aside from a brief and wholly peculiar stint with the Institute of Chartered Accountants, I’ve exclusively worked with hi-fi. I’ve sold it, taught others how to sell it, built it, marketed it, installed it, trained other people how to install it, consulted on designing it, written extensively about it and penned a fair few instruction manuals too. And 14 very enjoyable years reviewing.
I do my very best not to have one. I work to keep up with any and all technical developments to keep myself up to date and I’m as happy with turntables and phono stages as I am the latest and greatest digital audio formats.
Well, it beats working for a living doesn’t it? This is one of a tiny number of industries on Earth that allows for perfectionism. It centres on the sort of engineering you generally only see in very serious sectors of human achievement and it does so solely to make your life a bit more enjoyable. What’s not to like?
The suspension of disbelief. The moment you are listening to the music and not the equipment itself. It doesn’t need to cost a fortune, it simply needs to convey the musical message. Some equipment can, some can’t; it’s as simple as that.
Perennial enthusiast. The day I don’t feel a surge of excitement wiring up the latest thing to come through the door is the day I need to consider my career options.
Me, at least one of the household cats, iPad for note taking and a vast swathe of music. I absolutely believe that reviewing is more than saying something is good or bad. Everything excels at something and it’s about working that out.
When reviewing ends, it’s only about the music. If my only means of listening to music going forward was a Fisher Price tape recorder, I’d go with it.
Music is the single most powerful mood altering substance there is. It lifts you, calms you and consoles you depending on your needs. I don’t like silence and never have.
Modern digital is a truly magnificent thing but the ceremony of vinyl is and will always be special.
The one that I’ve used and listened to more than any other is Every Day by the Cinematic Orchestra but I can honestly say that anything goes; there’s an indisputable joy to taking a masterpiece of engineering and material science; the summation of everything a company knows in the field of audio… and playing The Shamen on it.