I’m in love with my Hifi System

The 1975 Queen album A Night at the Opera famous for Bohemian Rhapsody also contains a track by Roger Taylor called I’m in Love with my Car which has inspired this article.

My relationship with hi-fi is the longest running relationship in my life outside of my family.There seems to me many aspects which resemble romantic relationships.In some cases,We form long-lasting relationships with particular systems and components resembling our long-term partnerships in life. However, the average demonstration in a hi-fi shop or encounter at the hi-fi show is more like a speed dating event.

In fact walking down the corridors of the hi-fi show in a typical hotel is exactly like that – a series of rapid encounters with different components to which we may be attracted for a whole set of often quite superficial reasons. As with speed dating, we may question whether this is likely to lead to a meaningful long-term relationship.

If we take the next step and purchase the equipment and bring it home with us, as with any relationship it will evolve and change over time.

In some cases, the relationship will mature and deepen as we appreciate the hidden depths which our new acquisition can bring to our musical enjoyment. In other cases the characteristics which had an immediate impact may pale upon spending more time with the object of our affections.

Also, we will learn how the latest object of our affections interacts with our existing components in the same way as introducing a new partner to our existing circle of friends and family may enhance our enjoyment of that relationship, or indeed cause conflict and friction that may goes so far as to undermine the whole relationship.

When we are looking for love, we may compile a list of desirable characteristics that we are seeking from a potential partner. However this can easily be swept away by an emotional attraction to someone who may not tick all of the boxes on our list.

In some cases, the divergence from our list may even prove to be a particular attraction. We can see this novelty value in listening to potential new hi-fi components. When we walk into a demonstration of a product for a company that is unfamiliar, this can bring an extra joy, the joy of discovery and of exceeding expectations. By contrast, when we listen to the familiar, there are many reasons why it may not live up to our expectations are that particular occasion, but higher expectations will render this more disappointing.

At the end of the day, our enjoyment and judgements about HiFi components are always going to be subjective and any judgements based purely upon objective criteria are likely to be very dull and boring. In the same way that the unpredictability of romantic relationships is part of their very attraction, the uncertainty in making decisions about selecting hi-fi is also part of the attraction.

However, taking the time to reflect upon the joy bestowed by a particular brief encounter with a new Hifi component and considering its long term suitability may be as prudent in our Hifi journey as it is in life.

If you find this view of HiFi to be unnecessarily flowery, then look out for my next blog where I take an alternative view of my journey with hi-fi as a compulsion or even an addiction.

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