The real thing

I have spent a lot of time recently trying to get ‘good’ sound out of my car stereo.  I listen to music in the car all the time.  It is nearly constantly on, and the pathetic system in the car was annoying me.  When I was about 16 I saved up what was a lot of money for me then and purchased a real hifi.  Real hifi is made up of separate components.  It doesn’t have bells and whistles and flashy lights.  Real hifi rarely has a ‘demo’ mode or dancing lights.  There will be no bloated bass over-riding the entire system.  It will be black or silver boxes, with minimal buttons.  Speakers will be solid and heavy.  They will sit on speaker stands which will be on spikes on the floor.  The speakers will be positioned away from the rear wall, and the listener will sit between the speakers in the sweet spot.

Cheap hifi, and my car has cheap hifi for expensive money, doesn’t have volume.  It has loudness.  You turn it up, it gets louder.  Loud and harsh.  The harshness of the highs and the muddiness of the bass will lose the melody and rhythm of the music.  Of course, you are watching the dancing lights, so are distracted from this! It will fatigue the listener though.

Spend a bit on even cheap proper hi-fi and what you get is something else.  Volume really is to do with the amount of music.  Turn up the volume and more music flows into the room.  Punchy and controlled, with crisp bass, mid and treble.

I don’t think the car will ever deliver this.  I am yet to find a system in a car which does.

So, playing and playing and playing with the sound in the car, I drove across London to go and see some friends.  We went to a gig, and there was an acoustic set (it was my friend’s band).  And oh my god….. forget recorded music…. it was amazing.  Nothing recorded will ever come close.

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