The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hardware or Software?

3-11-09 Hardware or Software? What's the priority?

Y’mean equipment or discs?

I always loved the old record collector story about the guy who bought $40,000.00 worth of stereo equipment – and all he wanted to do with it was play Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon”. Why would you even consider investing that kind of money in audio equipment, if you have a super-limited scope on recorded music? Then there’s the audiophile trials and tribulations: your system is only as good as it’s weakest link – which translates to having to buy speaker cable that’s $250.00 a foot etc.

To put the boot on the other foot, If I had 7,500 CD’s, I would want something more than a CD Walkman to play ‘em on. And “Record Collecting: Artifacts Necessary?” – If one has the inclination to obtain 4,000 45rpm 7” singles – you’d better have something to play ‘em on!

Big, expensive audio system no good to someone with only a small selection of music available to them. The punk with the MP3 player likely won’t be interested in $750 Miles Davis 3-eye Columbia original pressings – to get that ‘extra edge’.

The better audio system is always just around the next corner, for me. Maybe I’m the wrong guy to ask this question to – me with a 30 year old stereo, and 22,000+ music titles. I guess software wins out every time, for me.

I have one friend with a big, expensive stereo – but he has a nice record collection.

So, the first re-mastered CD’s start showing up approx. ’93 or so – I think the first one I saw were Paul McCartney titles. I didn’t buy them at first, but I eventually came around to them. Slightly better packaging, but as I mostly had never bought any Paul McCartney CD’s, I could not compare the ‘new sound’ with the ‘old sound’. No, I did not buy very much audio equipment (‘hardware’) in the 90’s, apart from adding Sony MiniDisc to my system, and retiring my Sony cassette deck. I don’t know that I’d buy an re-mastered CD of anything after about ’93 or so – unless they added songs (or righted a wrong, such as packaging). I prefer to buy CD’s of stuff I do not have on LP, these days.

I’d like to get an SACD player, as I have some SACD titles that I’d like to hear in their supposed extended range (I have one that isn’t compatible, Peter Gabriel “Security”). So, in this case, software came before the hardware!

I will eventually replace some of my aged stereo equipment, as there doesn’t seem to be anywhere around here to get audio equipment repaired easily or inexpensively.


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

For $40K I would expect Pink Floyd to pay the album in person!

I am definitely a "software" guy. My stereo receiver/amp is only my second EVER, dating back to 86-87. My first was a Sears All-In-One from '79 that I got between my freshman and sophomore year in high school! My speakers are tiny BOSE business units that aren't even 20-20 KHz. I think they top out at 16 KHz. My philosophy has always been: get something to play it on then get as much music as you can afford!

11:51 AM  
Blogger Brian Ware said...

I'm definitely a software guy. All my components were modestly priced and even my surround sound set up for my TV was a Best Buy everything in one box package. It sounds great to me. Seeing as how 95% of my music listening is on my truck's CD player, I'm not real picky. At least I have air conditioning so I can keep the windows up!!

10:01 PM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

Re: air conditioning

Certainly a consideration, Brian.

These days, I do a lot of listening in my car.

And, my stereo is modest.

6:21 AM  

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