Relearning to spend musical quality time

Two weeks ago I went and bought myself a record player.

Now that’s a sentence I’d never thought I’d say or write, but there it is. I also bought a HiFi-rack to put it on and a CD player while I was at it.

Depending on how old you are you may wonder what’s so bloody remarkable about this. I was born in 1976, so neither records nor CDs are anything new or special to me. Or at least they shouldn’t be.

But here’s the thing. During the past year I’ve mused a lot about the stuff I do or don’t do with my free time, and I’ve realized that there is something I used to do a lot in the past but pretty much never do anymore, and that’s spending quality time with music.

It’s not that I just don’t do it – I’ve basically forgotten how to do it.

Of course there are multiple factors that led to this, but I believe my biggest mistake was to move away from physical media and only use my phone to manage and play music anymore. Now, I still made sure that I listened to it in fairly good quality at all times, either via ‘real’ speakers or a good pair of headphones; just using the phone’s speakers or some such always was out of the question. Nevertheless my listening habits changed dramatically because of this without me even being aware of it, at least initially.

First of all, I very rarely listened to an album all the way through anymore. Just one or two tracks, then off to the next. What’s worse, I was already browsing my library for the next track while listening to something, which of course meant that I was barely paying any attention to what I was hearing.

Over the years I started to perceive this as a problem, and I’ve been feeling the need to do something about it for a while now. During the past six months or so two things happened that nudged me over the edge.

One, I had an extensive talk about the issue with my buddy Dark, who himself started to listen to and collect records a couple of years ago and confirmed my assumption that it’s a much more conscious and appreciative experience. Thanks for the tons of advice, by the way!

Two, my rekindled love for Diablo II made me wish I had something physical to display in my gaming shelf – other than the original Diablo and Diablo II boxes, which I obviously already have. So I browsed the net and found this:

The collector in me loves this SO much

As you can see I bought it right away, and it all looks and feels amazing. Only now I suddenly owned two records that I couldn’t actually listen to.

So I finally made up my mind – I would buy a record player and “force” myself to relearn how to fully experience and appreciate music again.

Obviously I don’t have a great many records to listen to yet. What I do have are about 500 CDs though, so I thought what the hell, I’ll also get a new CD player, something I didn’t have for over ten years now either. Sure, I could’ve used my PS3 or Blu-ray player at any time, but those don’t have displays of their own, and I don’t like having to turn on my TV just to play music. Fortunately I still kept buying at least some music on CD throughout the years regardless, I just never listened to it the way it was intended anymore.

Well, I’ve swiftly started to make up for that missed opportunity now that I have a “complete” HiFi-rack again (sans tape deck because screw that crap). For the first time in over 25 years I’m in that position, and I’m simply loving it!

Oh, and it looks pretty nice too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some music to listen to and don’t want to be disturbed.

Blaugust 2022 post count: 4

3 Replies to “Relearning to spend musical quality time”

  1. Cassettes are supposedly making a comeback, too. Just sayin’

    I took two hifi systems to the recycling center during lockdown, when I was having a huge clearout. That leaves us with just three! In the lounge we still have the same massive hifi that we had a quarter of a century ago, which is close to as long as it’s been since we last used it. In the front room there are more than a thousand vinyl albums and as many singles. Once in a very blue moon I think about playing one but what would be the point? I can just type the names of any of them into YouTube and there they’ll be.

    I do occasionally wonder if I should get a modern turntable – they’re so much smaller and more convenient than the old ones – but really I can’t see the point. I agree that having to listen to albums from end to end does make you pay more attention but it’s not the hardware that stops me doing that. I could do it any time online if I really wanted to (And sometimes I do.)

    I’m a lot more interested in keeping up my CD collection, though. By far the best audio experience I have these days is in the car and we only have a CD player there. CDs are supposedly also having some kind of renaissance. It’ll be the sodding 8-track next!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. @Bhagpuss – I sure hope not (regarding the cassette-comeback)! Of course being able to record stuff was nice at the time, but the quality was so goddamn awful. Almost as bad as VHS, but don’t even get me started on that…

    It seems that I’m just not able to tune out (heh) all the distractions I have right at my fingertips when I listen to music on my phone or PC. You’re right of course, technically the hardware is irrelevant, but apparently it makes a big difference for my psyche.

    And I have to say, the DII-soundtrack really does sound a lot better on vinyl than the crappy MP3s I have of it, so there’s also that.


  3. That looks really cool!

    I kinda envy people who are able to just sit down and enjoy music, because I simply can’t. Which doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying it, I have a healthy (is it?) collection of CDs and I’m buying at least a couple every year, but I make mp3s out of them and listen to those. At home, during work, in the car – usually full albums as well, but I can’t just sit still and listen except if at a concert 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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