Engineers sound off
on their love for music
and the listening experience
The Best Place to Listen
to Music is In Your Car
Diverse ways to enjoy music
means new challenges
in the marketplace
Passion for Developing
Premium Car Stereos
Channeling the love of music
into the new AV receiver
The Best Place to Listen to
Music is In Your Car
Q: Another important aspect of enjoying listening to music is the "listening environment". What kind of setup do you typically use when listening to music?
I started listening to music way back in the days of the radio-cassette player, because that's what my father used. Then, when I was in school, I would put on earphones and listen to tapes, MiniDiscs, CDs, and use my Walkman while studying, or doing just about anything. Now that I'm grown up, I've discovered a much nicer setup... the stereo system inside my car! The CD was invented to recreate the experience of hearing a live concert and that's why I like to really crank up the volume when listening to music. The easiest place for me to do that is in my car, using its stereo.
I listen to music in all sorts of places. Sometimes, I listen to music while in the bath, using the speakers on my smart phone. I somehow find their super limited-range and cheap sound really pleasant to listen to. So, I don't think that you should only listen to music in an optimal environment.
Q: Would you say that experiencing music using an ideal setup can help you enjoy music more?
Of course. I think anyone who makes music wants people to find and use the best possible listening setup.
Q: Listening in your car means that you can enjoy the ride – looking at the ever-changing scenery and being with the people you're riding with. What’s the best way to listen to music while in the car?
I like listening by myself, but I really enjoy playing music for other people in the car. Sometimes I'm with my family while other times I'm with a colleague from work. Naturally, I play different music depending on who I'm with.
I like listening when I'm by myself the best. That way, I can cut out any noise that might interfere with my listening experience. I like to really focus in on the music and pick out the individual instruments' parts. By ‘noise’, I mean anything that distracts from the music including the outside scenery or whatever else might draw my eye. Even the sound of someone brushing their teeth in the morning comes across as interference. I know that wouldn’t bother most people. People who don't make music are less likely to register such sounds as a distraction when they listen to music.
I agree. It seems like lots of people listen to music while writing, or doing other things.
Q: In the car or at an outdoor live concert, there's all sorts of "noise" from the world around us that mixes in the music we're trying to listen to. How do you feel about listening to music under such circumstances?
Well, first let’s look at how the human ear works. Imagine you’re talking with someone in a noisy restaurant. Without any extra effort from you, your ears will automatically tune out the background noise and focus in on the voice of the person you’re talking to, allowing you to hear only the sound of that voice.
For me, the best listening environment is one where I don't have to deal with any noises and can focus on just the music. However, doing that sometimes makes me feel a bit lonely. Especially if a song is really upbeat. I end up picturing myself listening to this great song all alone and it feels just like going to see a movie alone. Just a little sad, somehow. These sort of thoughts make me feel like maybe noise is a necessary part of listening after all.
At concerts, you have the cheers of the crowd and, if outside, there's also the sound of the wind blowing, and of birds or planes flying by. The sounds and the scenery, everything that surrounds the music, is what makes the experience so fun. Likewise, when you’re in the car, you can enjoy the outside scenery and if you're with other people, it can be something special. Just mentioning that you like a song creates a shared experience – the pleasure of listening together. You can also introduce people to songs they’ve never heard and it's like listening to it the first time yourself. Another wonderful thing about listening in your car is that it’s easy to focus on the music without being distracted by the noise of the car itself. In my opinion, listening to music inside a car is the closest thing to actually hearing it live.
I completely agree. I mean when you’re in your car, the engine is always running so there's this constant background hum. However, since the hum is at a specific frequency, your ears are able to easily tune out the noise and tune into the music. Also, since the car stereo speakers are built into the body of the car itself, you’ll be able to ‘feel’ the music giving you a fuller experience.
Q: As music professionals, do you feel that it’s important for music listeners to have the best possible listening environment regardless of the production medium?
Well, I was blown away by the improvements in sound quality after switching from a typical radio-cassette player to the Walkman. It happened again when I switched out my standard Walkman earphones for a high-end pair and yet again when I upgraded to using headphones. I feel that these improvements in technology can be the gateway for casual music listeners to become true music lovers.
Q: What sort of developments do you anticipate from here on out?
These days, artists tend to believe that it’s best to use headphones in the studio when mixing down tracks, but that way of thinking is going to change. I used to think that my home was the best place for me to listen to music, but now I think it’s inside my car. I truly believe that soon there will be artists who will start mixing their music inside their cars.
to be continued Vol.3