Hi-fi Fo Flummoxed

I like to say that I’m one of maybe a dozen people on the planet still using a home stereo system. I continue to collect vinyl and compact discs. This is how I prefer to listen to music. It makes me happy.

I call my system The Reverberation Station (a name given to me by a friend). And it’s in the midst of a complete overhaul. Thanks to the good people at Decibel Audio in Chicago, I’m on the way to becoming a true audiophile. I think.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been using the same gear (except for the CD player) for nearly 30 years. Technology has evolved by leaps and bounds. But I was never truly unhappy with my gear.

Still, I knew I was due for a change. And that’s what has been happening.My trusty, fully automatic Technics turntable has been replaced by a completely manual Pioneer. My Technics CD player has been swapped out for a Marantz. Both sound amazing, even while being powered by an antique JVC receiver soon to be replaced by a Rogue Sphinx amplifier. The guys at Decibel assure me the difference will be night and day. I can hardly wait.

Here’s the funny thing: until today, I had not considered changing my speakers. Not for a single second. It never dawned on me. Now at last, I have begun to give it thought.

Like everything else, these wonderful Cerwin-Vegas are almost 30 years old. They can handle 280 watts, which has always been more than enough to rattle teeth in any home I’ve lived in. They have a terrific, heavy (but not excessive) bottom end, and a clear top end. So why change them?

Because everything evolves. At least, that’s what my brain told me today.

A stereo system is only as good as its speakers. The purpose of the overhaul was to finally hear the many details I have been depriving myself of all these years. My new gear will do that for me. But will I ever hear the full potential without changing speakers?

I’m not sure.

And so I find myself heading back down the rabbit hole that is Stereophile magazine, where only the best and brightest audio gear is featured and reviewed. I can only assume my answers lie within.

Admittedly, some of the gear they feature is WAAAAAY outside my means. But who knows? Something in range just might appear.

There is one small problem: the current pandemic (and some people’s unwillingness to do the right thing) make it difficult to impossible to actually sample what I’m reading about. Until that mess is sorted out, the C-V’s and I remain connected. But I don’t see that as a bad thing.

I have no idea where this journey is taking me. After all, I had no plans to go anywhere. But something tells me it’s worth my time to take a few looks and listens. Either way, I have got to know what some of those mega-expensive speakers sound like!When it comes to my music, I don’t want to miss anything.

#cirdecsongs

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs) My book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers.

Would you like to have your album reviewed? Contact me at cirdecsongs@gmail.com

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