Is “Dedicated Listening” becoming a lost art?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Khorn, Aug 3, 2022.

  1. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Follower of Hi-Fi

    New Mexico USA
    This is both a mostly very cool thread and a bit of a Principal Skinner is not out of touch thread.

    The very cool part is all of the inspiring and beautiful descriptions people are laying down about their approach to immersive, undistracted, deep listening — one of the essential reasons to own audio hardware and great recordings. (But not the only reason — others examples would include dancing, playing air guitar, hanky-panky, and transport to stoned oblivion.)

    The completely unnecessary uncool part is hitching the topic to an invitation to get out a tiny violin and offer yet another mournful, mopey audiophile decline narrative about listening "becoming a lost art." Personally I don't consider myself one of a dwindling, dying breed of dedicated listeners because I often crank up the high-end Victrola and do nothing but groove to the tunes, unlike them pesky, fidgeting whippersnappers with their phones and their DR5 pop music and their zero attention spans underneath their hip-hop haircuts.

    My dedicated listening preference is not to think of it as a very, very serious responsibility and act of cultural preservation requiring maturity, discipline, and nailing your feet to the floor in front of the sweet spot, surrounded by a darkling plain where ignorant armies clash by night.

  2. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Senior Member

    Dedicated listening is the appreciation of that art. It is the result for which the art was created.
    Khorn likes this.
  3. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Why do I have to sit down? These days, my very best concentrated listening is when I’m walking outside, usually just as it’s starting to get light out.
  4. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Senior Member

    Yes, one of my earliest mentors for appreciating recorded music would laugh out loud at certain passages. He helped make it a more joyful experience.
    bever70 and Khorn like this.
  5. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Senior Member

    Happily, books are easily accessible through technology. Not my thing, but it works for many, and not just younger people by any means.
    Khorn likes this.
  6. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Senior Member

    Wouldn't work for me. When I'm dedicated to listening, I become oblivious to my surroundings, which is not good when walking.
    Khorn likes this.
  7. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    Ya know, I learned dedicated listening, by getting used to doing other things with music in the background. Most significantly, by doing my homework with headphones on (headphones, by the way, that I built myself). And I moved on from that, to using my headphones in bead, while "multi-tasking the process of falling asleep".

    A billion people simply cannot sit alone in a car with hands at 10-n'-2, without entertaining themselves with some sort of auditory distraction. Distractions from perhaps the most critical function they do all day, placing themselves in traffic, also alongside billions of people who are doing the same thing.

    And I canNOT imagine, what must be on the minds of however-many music-lovers all over the world, zoning-out while the orchestra or Kenny G insists they sit there quietly as the next fifteen-minute piece causes them to zone-out. Really, when was the last time you were two movements deep into a Schubert symphony...and you weren't thinking about that overdue library book...? Isn't that "multi-tasking"...? ;)

    It seems to me, you can watch even the most critical public events, say, a candidates' debate...and be aware that somewhere, even the person for whom the debate is the most important (such as a journalist or commentator), isn't so much listening to the he is taking notes for what he himself is going to say afterwards, when the post-debate coverage is focused on him.
    Khorn likes this.
  8. Neonknight1

    Neonknight1 Well-Known Member

    But what if in my nightly serious listening session...which I do every night for about 90 minutes... I fire up the Qobuz and play Ed Sheeran, Lil Jon and East Side Boyz, Back Street Boys, Cage the Elephant, Jonas Brothers, Giselle and Flight Factory, Bruno Mars, Sublime, Limp Bizkit, and Kid Rock? Am I no longer an angsty audiophile?
    Khorn and Stone Turntable like this.
  9. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    Exactly! yes...indeed a slice of happiness!
    Khorn likes this.
  10. Tim 2


    Alberta Canada
    I don't either unless it's drinking and listening, :cheers:
    Glmoneydawg and Khorn like this.
  11. WDeranged

    WDeranged Forum Resident

    I have a small issue. I can only really get into that headspace after two bottles of wine...ish. I haven't been able to soberly get engrossed in music since I was a kid. I can appreciate. I can criticise. But I know I'll never understand any album half as much as when I'm slightly out of my head. I don't have this issue with books or movies or computer games. Just music. And women.
    Khorn likes this.
  12. terzinator

    terzinator boots lost in transit

    i put a bird in the oven
    which gives me about an hour
    to sit down with a glass of viognier
    for a dedicated listen to healing power: the music of carla bley
    and i felt compelled to adjust the speakers
    to point straight ahead instead of toed-in
    and i think it sounds better
    but it looks weird
    so i close my eyes

    e e cummings
    mrz80, stax o' wax and Khorn like this.
  13. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!


    Doesnt explain why I STILL feel the same way about them when I hear them now at 63.
    Khorn likes this.
  14. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!

    The Drifters became The Shadows
    Khorn likes this.
  15. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!

    The Damons became The Lettermen
    Khorn likes this.
  16. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!

    The Versa-Tones became The Ventures
    Khorn likes this.
  17. ajax25

    ajax25 Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    I guess it’s not dedicated since I’m reading this topic while listening (and typing)
    Khorn likes this.
  18. ThinWhiteDuke

    ThinWhiteDuke Forum Resident

    New Zealand
    Not if you insist on listing Sublime and Back Street Boys in the same sentence you ain't! :D

    (On a more serious note: You do you, and p.s. that's an impressively wide range of musical taste you have there!)
    Khorn likes this.
  19. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Obversarian Thread Starter

    One thing that separates me from the majority is I never got into music Videos. They didn’t exist in the way they do today when I first got into music.
    For me the only way to listen to recorded music is with my ears not my eyes and that’s the way it’s always been.
    Glmoneydawg likes this.
  20. Neonknight1

    Neonknight1 Well-Known Member

    Who can hate on Everybody followed by Cisco Kid, and finished up with Rollin?
    Khorn likes this.
  21. reapers

    reapers Forum Resident

    This is often the case for me as well (although at the other end of the day). Portable listening options are getting a lot better.
    brownie61 and Khorn like this.
  22. stax o' wax

    stax o' wax Forum Resident

    The West
    Sometimes it's sit down and soak in the entire album and let the band make their artistic statement.
    I let those waves transfer deep into my soul and revel in that spiritual experience of humans communicating in the most profound and touching way they know.
    Whether it be angry, joyful, introspective or regretful I want to feel the messages that those complete albums convey.
    But not all bands are necessarily "album " bands.
    So sometimes it's music on my phone thru a JBL - Charge 3 bluetooth speaker while playing Dominos with the wife.
    But nothing is quite as thrilling as throwing on an album that just speaks to you in that moment and getting your batteries recharged with that experience.
    Khorn likes this.
  23. mcbrion

    mcbrion Forum Resident

    The pace of life has speeded up since the '70s and '80s, when the audiophile baby started growing into full bloom. People had more time to get lost in music and they wanted to get lost in music.
    Now, as someone else said, it's background wallpaper.
    If I'm listening to The Rite of Spring, I can't see how I could truly hear the orchestra while doing other things. On the other hand, listening to many other types of music requires little or no concentration. I find if the music is that of a real "artist" (Aretha, Ella, Luther, Whitney, Audra MacDonald, etc.), I want to hear how they "bend" notes and that requires focus. Listening to Drake does not. Anything where the music is so overproduced that the artist's voice is mixed down into the "music" doesn't need my full attention, just as when I was young and I listened to the Beatles on a transistor radio and enjoyed it. But some music has so much going on that I need to sit down and be engulfed in it. So, it depends on the music and it depends on how much soul someone has to give to the music.

    As Simon and Garfunkel sang, almost 50 years ago:
    "And in the naked light, I saw
    Ten thousand people, maybe more
    People talking without speaking
    People hearing without listening..."

    In today's world, what I observe is more people leaning towards that last line..
    Dave Mac, Dpaul, Clonesteak and 2 others like this.
  24. Alan2

    Alan2 Forum Resident

    I'ts my favourite pastime. I try to get at least an hour of uninterrupted listening in per day, preferably two hours. I'm reluctant to answer the phone when I'm listening, and I find if I do get distracted in any way I've kind of lost touch with the music. Fortunately i only have feline company at home. Having a goodish system, listening to my own choice of music, that's what it's all about for me.
    Dave Mac and Gi54 like this.
  25. kyouki

    kyouki Well-Known Member

    Nagoya, Japan
    Sometimes I feel like tuning everything out and focusing 100% on the music, other times I like having music on in the background while doing other stuff (mostly working). The latter is a great way to rediscover songs, albums, and even artists.
    Alan2 likes this.

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