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I recently changed my car, and in the process of sorting all the various things out (removing CDs etc from my previous car) lead me to a thinking about a question I have seen often mentioned in music blogs, biographies and other books.  That simple question ‘When you get a new bit of audio kit, do you have a specific album that’s at be played first?’  That audio kit could be simply a car stereo or iPod through to some audiophile exotica (go look at marvels such as http://www.michell-engineering.co.uk/turntables/gyrodec/ or http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/Speakers/Home_Audio/Nautilus/Overview.html and these are still relatively tame).

By know you’re either reading this going – what planet are you on, or mug you can’t tell the difference between £100 and £1000 piece of stereo, or perhaps a knowing response of  yes it’s xyz album.  If you’re response is the later, then you’re probably at least a self confessed audiophile.  So, you have the question, and I’m sure if you ask it unless you’re a known audiophile basher (middle response above) you’ll probably get the appropriate response every time.

The fascinating thing is that the album concerned doesn’t necessarily reflect a persons’ taste; it might even be a recording that particularly exercises a HiFi in a manner that shows off its strengths or reveal audio weaknesses (every audiophile will have a few albums they like to use to test a bit of kit with) but most likely something like the first album played on the first bit of proper HiFi.  So for me, it is a rather uncool Mike Oldfield QEII.  It was one of the first CDs I purchased and played on my 1st vaguely ok HiFi.  I still love the album for the swooping guitar work, diverse musical styling. But I’d not suggest it is reflective of my musical taste which which is very wide, but with a strong deference to Alt Rock/Americana these days.

Before I risk getting flamed out by audiophiles about associating CD with quality – yes I do have vinyl and a well respected turntable.  For those at the other end, I’m not audiophile zealot – I do have an iPod  (a 80GB classic as it happens which is perpetually full) & the name MP3Monster is not without reason.  Right playback for the right conditions  – MP3 on the move, CD for day to day and those rare quiet moments just occasionally the vinyl gets out. But always music.