Sometimes Change is Good

Making the best of letting go of summer & gearing up for indoor season

In early October, here in Colorado, we got blasted with 8 inches of snow.

I’m a big fan of winter — I love it. But I’m just not ready for it, because I don’t like change. I was really getting used to these nice Colorado days with no wind or thunderstorms or hail. Beautiful sunsets and sunrises and all. If you’ve got something good going, why mess with it?

In this blog post, I’m looking at some of the benefits of the change in season when it comes to listening habits and time spent with our various music listening systems.

At the outset, it makes sense that we’ll be spending more time indoors in the coming months than in previous months. Time logged on the couch watching movies will take a sharp upward trajectory. New music will get the attention it deserves — and we can catch up on what we missed over the summer.

Our entertainment systems will become more of a focal point for many of us, and that gift holiday season is also coming up. So maybe it’s time to think about an upgrade to the rig that will spice up the Winter season in your home.

For example, if you don’t currently have a subwoofer, maybe consider adding one. Don’t think about subwoofers as filling the space and your eardrums with more bass than you or your neighbors want to handle. Subwoofers should be barely there, gently and specifically used to fill in only the bottom bit that’s left off from the rest of your speakers, and only at a volume that is commensurate with the rest of the sound. 

My subs — yes, I’m a big believer in having at least two — are barely turned on at all. Knock on wood, but my neighbor has never complained about the bass, and I’ve never enjoyed sound from TV, movies or music more than with the bass machines in place.

When it gets really cold out and the snow is falling, we haven’t a better opportunity to drink in the details and resolutions of our handcrafted systems. I think my favorite characteristic of snow is its sound absorption capabilities. When I’m way out in the middle of nowhere, cross-country skiing, there is no more silent place in life.

Likewise, a layer of 6 inches of snow on your roof, or an active falling snow does a great deal to isolate your listening chamber from the outside world. Call it the zen effect. The world is quieter, and your system — subs most definitely included — begins to really bloom for you.

I find that my listening habits change a bit with the seasons, too. I’m often looking out for new releases by some of my favorite groups, but in the fall of 2019, we’ve got a bounty of algorithm-derived music suggestion services to guide us, and these musical divining rods are not focused only on new music, which is a good thing.

I was recently guided by a popular streaming app to check out a song from a group called Lydian Collective. Holy cow. The track was from their only album on Qobuz, Adventure, which came out last year. For some reason, for me, this is the perfect transition music into winter. We’re not yet in the doldrums of winter, and I still want something lively, but I like how LC manages to make difficult music sound easy and smooth. Check it out for yourself — there’s plenty of well-recorded, natural bass goodness in there to make your mains/sub integration really shine.

I’ll leave you with an excellent tweak for the new season. Paul McGowan gave me this one. Every connection on our stereo or home theater systems is made with a wire or cable joining to a jack that is very likely not the same exact material or metal, and over time that difference promotes oxidation.

Revive your equipment and set your winter up for good sound by unplugging and re-plugging every wire, one by one. This will scrape off that oxidation and promote a more solid electrical connection, so you can get back to Netflix with the confidence that your home audio system will be at its best, and — fingers crossed — will never change. Until you want it to.

November 20, 2019 - Posted in: Reconsider