Hearing music again

"I really do not listen to music."

I could not believe it. It was as if my friend had just informed me that he was not chewing food with his mouth. It seemed a different species.

I tried to put myself in his place. I tried to imagine a version of me that really did not listen to music. I could not do it.

But my friend is a few years older than me. I knew some people, my older brother, for example, whose musical taste had ossified after college. Maybe after your taste stops changing, your passion fades? I was just guessing. I made a promise to myself: I would never stop loving music.

Now I'm an old man. Every day I seem to break a small or big promise that I made to myself when I was younger.

I do not love music almost as much as I used to.

Sure, I still listen to music. But, above all, I use music . As a tool.

For example, I'm listening to music right now because I'm writing. A good song helps me focus. I will choose a track and put it on the circuit for an hour or more.

Other times, when I'm very sad, I listen to music. I will listen to old songs that I wrote, when I loved music the most. Or songs that I heard in high school that will always resonate with me.

My original theory, about an immutable taste in music that leads to a lack of passion for music, still sounds true to me.

Still, sometimes, he hears something wild and new. During the last year, more or less have been the last albums of Angel Olsen and Mitski. Before that, it was Drake & # 39; s "One Dance".

A good year gives me a new album, or maybe just a new song to love. It's getting weirder to listen to something that I love and can connect with, and I really can listen a. And the less I listen to new and interesting music, the less I am able to find interesting new music. I think it literally has nothing to do with "children these days", and everything has to do with not synchronizing with the "fashion" of music. You need the context, and I'm missing.

But I have a new theory about my fickle love for music: maybe it has something to do with how I listen to music.





Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

When I think about it, it's easy enough for me to trace my interest in music along the technology path I used to listen to.

My father's record player. The cassette player next to my bed. Napster Rhapsody. My mother's car iPod My own car. Little cat. Rdio. Bookshelf speakers with a good amplifier. Revolving plate of my roommate. Shure in-ear headphones. Headphones Grade in the ear. Koss Porta Pros.

Think of a pair of headphones or a speaker as an interpreter. Like, it's a cover band. The repertoire of the cover band is defined by the music service from which you get songs.

There were moments in my life where the repertoire was everything. I got a shit bitrate on Rhapsody because I was voracious. Rhapsody was the first broadcast service I used (years before Spotify came on the scene) and allowed me to explore entire decades of music I had never had before.

On other occasions, the "performer" was the most important. One of my first audiophile purchases was a pair of SR60 Grade. They were the perfect mix of low price and "right" sound. But they hurt my ears to use, and maybe they sounded a little too clear.

My next move was to get an amplifier and a pair of passive monitors. This is possibly the purchase of my greatest team of all time. Good speakers, amplified well, can express a whole range of vibrations that do not translate well through the headphones. I'm not talking about the bass that makes your bones sound, but maybe it touches you a bit in the chest. The heat brushes your cheeks, instead of injecting directly into your spine like high-end headphones do.

When my roommate bought a turntable, we suddenly had the best musical configuration known to man. We put in a record, turned off the lights and listened directly. You know, you really listen . Flip the disc is a pain, but only another part of the immersive experience.

But the only piece that has kept me closer to music in recent years is that of Koss Porta Pros.

Porta Pros, if you have not done so I've listened to you, I have a fondness that is almost certainly an imprecise reproduction of the "real" music you're playing through them. They are a cover band, and they take some liberties with the songs. The fact is that I love the freedoms they take. Porta Pros emphasizes the parts of the music that I love.

I can not take my bookshelf speakers with me everywhere. And the Degrees hurt my ears. And most good wireless headphones are large and bulky companions of airplanes. And I like to hear what happens around me, because I use a bicycle. And the warmth of Porta Pros! So warm

I think the ideal musical experience is a live concert, or being in the studio with a band when they cut a record.

But it's inconvenient to go to live shows all the time. And it is inconvenient to sneak into the recording studios and try to mix with the foam panels.

The technology to listen to music is like that. It is inconvenient to carry a high-end DAC everywhere. It is inconvenient that your neighbor comes and complains about how loud the speakers on your shelves are. It is inconvenient to spend $ 500 on headphones that you could break or lose. It's inconvenient when you grab your Porta Pro cable on the doorknob and it breaks. The dongles are inconvenient. Charging wireless headphones is a drawback. Synchronizing wireless headphones is inconvenient.

"Everything is a compensation", now I can say with the insecurity of an adult.

Earlier this year, I made Paul's choice for adults. I chose a new pair of headphones not with sound, but with comfort. I got a pair of Apple Beats X elbow pads.

Acoustically, they are a crime against music. But, after all, I only need hearing aids to listen to audiobooks and podcasts because I'm a boring person. If someone sends me a song to listen to, Beats X are competent enough to give me a general idea of ​​what the song is like. In terms of comfort, however, Beats X is my ideal. They are minimal, lightweight, easy to store in your pocket, they only need to be charged once a day, and they are aesthetically almost invisible, at least with regard to wireless headphones.

But for two days I've been listening to Koss's new Porta Pro wireless headphones.

What a fool I was!

I agree with all the negative things that Vlad has to say about these headphones in his review. The battery and the hanging controls look silly. They are bad in Bluetooth. I have no idea why the blinking blue LED is powerful enough to guide boats home in a storm.

But they sound good to me. They interpret music the way I want it to be done. And they offer enough comfort and convenience to satisfy adult Paul who just wants to listen EconTalk .

I've been listening to a repeated song while writing this. But guess that? It is a new song. Well, at least for me. It came out in 2016. Give me some time to catch up.