"Mike Oldfield", audiophile, cd, Hifi, MP3, Music
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.
Ha ha, this resonates perfectly with me. Though not really a full on audiophile I do know what I like and yes I do have a CD which is first choice for ‘testing’ new equipment. In my case Simple Minds, Real Life, specifically the track See the light. Similarly this is not particularly representative of my musical tastes (other than being on the wide genre which is rock) but something about the production and the makeup of the track just means it works for me.
Just before Christmas I treated myself to a new car, a VW Beetle. I’ve owned many cars, my vice, and this is my 7th Beetle. The young salesman was a little taken aback when I said yes to his comment that I was only buying that particular model for the sound system it had, that in itself confused me. The car is a VW Beetle Fender Edition, of course I’m buying it for the stereo! That’s the point! I got home, spun up my trusty Simple Minds CD, sat back and immersed myself in the best in car sound I have ever owned.
And yes, I have boxes of vinyl, and yes, the convenience of Bluetooth connectivity, iPod connectivity and DAB are brilliant, but for motorway cruising at volume you can’t beat a good old fashioned CD. Each Sunday evening I load up a new six from my collection and rediscover music that has also languished in a box for a few years, and it’s great fun.
All I can say is a man after my own heart