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how do you improve your listening skill ?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
It is said that it's a blessing if one can not tell the difference between a high end headphone system vs. a lower end one, as he does not have to break the bank to get satisfied equipment. Well, I decide to rise up to the challenge. How does one improve his listening skill ?

Question 1: is this born or can be trained afterwards ?
question 2: if it's not entirely decided by genes, what do you do to improve ? e.g., as newbie, how do you get familiar with term such as sound stage, depth, resolution, etc. I guess you just have to listen more ? Any tricks to share ?

Thanks
post #2 of 32
Close your eyes when listening to your music,while doing that see if you can depict a performance by the artst/group in front of you
post #3 of 32
This forum would have you believe that the more money you spend, the better the sound expereince. That is a load of crap. You spend the amount of money necessary to find a sound that is pleasing to you.

While finding the right system may cause you to spend a few bucks, you do not have to 'break the bank'. If you have the odd ear that can distinguish a difference in sound quality at 156.90 Mhz, then you likely need the $6000 headamp unit.

I started out with a Little Dot heaphone amp driving HD595's. It was not expensive and did a wonderful job. I was captured by a Woo Audio WA6SE at CanJam 2008 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The WA6SE is four times as expensive as the LD unit, but was not four times better. I am just being honest here based on my own experience. The Woo Amp is sexy, well-built and sounded better than the LD unit, but I vcannot say it was so much better that I should not have just stayed with th eLD headphone amplifier.
post #4 of 32
Absolutely not, we all know that there is no correlation between how much money you spend on equipment and how much you enjoy the music. I get a little whiskey, I enjoy my music a lot more, and that has nothing to do with equipment.

On a less serious note, you can always try some of Patrick82's magic vitamins to see if you "hear better".

On a more serious note, just listen to music and really listen. Don't surf the web, read stuff or play games; just listen, get into it and enjoy. You'll be surprised how enjoyable and engaging music can be. Of course if you notice yourself being distracted or not getting into it, you're either listening to a system that doesn't engage you or much more likely, you aren't listening to music that does.
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunalraiker View Post
Close your eyes when listening to your music,while doing that see if you can depict a performance by the artst/group in front of you
Interesting. Back to a few years ago when I go to live concert regularly (classical music), I always close my eyes when listening as I find visual distracting. Will give this a try.
post #6 of 32
Don't worry about being all analytical about it, when that happens you wind up never being satisfied and wanting more and more. Find a type of sound you like, do the research, and get some gear that will satisfy your tastes for that sound, then enjoy the music.

I have 2 headphones (well, 2nd on the way) for that reason, I like different sounds depending on my mood. If I'm cheerful and energetic, I like a more forward sound (used to listen to SR60s, thank god I upgraded) that is more involving, so I can really get into the music and it has me tapping my feet. When I'm tired or I feel like just laying back and relaxing, I put on my D5000s and float away, because while they are very engaging, they do not have that foot tapping, get up and dance quality, so you can just relax.
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunalraiker View Post
Close your eyes when listening to your music,while doing that see if you can depict a performance by the artst/group in front of you
Yeah, listening in the dark has always been the best thing for me to improve my pleasure while listening. I never do anything else while I Listen, I can't multitask like that! (excluding walking, but that's not on my rig)
post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your comments !

breakfastchef: thanks for sharing your experience. I understand that price of equipment does not always correlate with sound quality. The trouble i find is how to differentiate one system vs. another. e.g., I was comparing the DAC of my squeezebox to the DAC of Maverick Audio D1, was A/B same song back and forth many times, and in the end I did find some slight difference, where DAC of D1 shows a bit more warm low frequency, whereas SB3 tends to sound a little dry. But in the end I'm not sure if this is really the difference I hear or more psychological as I was expecting D1 to be better.

FallenAngel: right on about focusing on music. Right now as I'm typing I'm also listening to Handel's Messiah. Can't say how much percent of my brain is on the music.

Necrolic: my research started with a trip to a local audio shop where I auditioned Grado 225 and HD595/650. Source is macbook with Ion uDAC. First I can say that I don't like Grado as it has too much high frequency stuff to my ear. Next I A/B "Black Beaty" a couple of times on HD595/650 and I find 650 is indeed better with more details, although I can feel uDAC does not really drive it properly. So I ended up with HD650, only to find that's just the beginning of a long journey as it is not the easiest phone to drive. After some research (probably not enough as I can't wait), I went with Maverick Audio D1, but back in my mind I always wonder if this is a good choice from amp point of view, as it seems tube amp seems to suite HD650 better. So it begins ...
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by FallenAngel View Post
Absolutely not, we all know that there is no correlation between how much money you spend on equipment and how much you enjoy the music. I get a little whiskey, I enjoy my music a lot more, and that has nothing to do with equipment.

On a less serious note, you can always try some of Patrick82's magic vitamins to see if you "hear better".

On a more serious note, just listen to music and really listen. Don't surf the web, read stuff or play games; just listen, get into it and enjoy. You'll be surprised how enjoyable and engaging music can be. Of course if you notice yourself being distracted or not getting into it, you're either listening to a system that doesn't engage you or much more likely, you aren't listening to music that does.
Very well said!

I also get a whiskey and some w33d when I listen to Blues. And honestly the music sounds like it comes out of a ten millions $ worth setup
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by FallenAngel View Post
Absolutely not, we all know that there is no correlation between how much money you spend on equipment and how much you enjoy the music. I get a little whiskey, I enjoy my music a lot more, and that has nothing to do with equipment.

On a less serious note, you can always try some of Patrick82's magic vitamins to see if you "hear better".

On a more serious note, just listen to music and really listen. Don't surf the web, read stuff or play games; just listen, get into it and enjoy. You'll be surprised how enjoyable and engaging music can be. Of course if you notice yourself being distracted or not getting into it, you're either listening to a system that doesn't engage you or much more likely, you aren't listening to music that does.
Agree with you until your last paragraph. I don't know, maybe I don't listen to music like everyone else listens to music. But I'm always surfing the web while I listen, and I rarely find myself distracted by other things. Rather, the music distracts me from everything else. I have a hard time only listening to music, without doing anything else. Only when I'm in a certain mood can I do that.

I will agree that when in this mood nothing beats a full front-to-back album listen or two. And while I agree that often the music needs to be left alone and free of distractions to get the full effect, I also think that if you have to focus on it and it alone to get any enjoyment out of it, you're either listening to a system that doesn't engage you or much more likely, you aren't listening to music that does.
post #11 of 32
Really up to the person. I usually do other stuff with music, but if I want to really get into it, I just lean back in the chair and chill.
post #12 of 32
So......alittle moonshine and your rig, whatever it may be, will sound magical. ;-)

Funny, but mostly true....or sad, but mostly true, depending on your mood, but to each his own. YES, Fallen hit a point that I've noticed since I began this whole head-fi journey about five or so months ago. YES, with alittle o'grandpappies cough medicine, the sound stage seems to open into infinity times ten. I'm sure there are plently more out there that will agree.....c'mon you know that it at least seems like it.

But getting back to the original question. I haven't found that I'm a more analytical listener quite yet. I can't speak too intelligently about sound yet, but I've found that I really know what I'm partial to, having tried a good amount of headphones to date and a few amps/dacs. You'll find it if you keep trying new things. I've got a good idea but I'm not completely satified and why would I want to be ya know? Otherwise I wouldn't even be coming back to these great forums to learn and try new things. Its a great, un-ending conquest. Although time consuming and it may get expensive, its a great hobby.....so here we all are. Sorry probably didn't really help the OP at all, but there's my two bits.
post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunalraiker View Post
Close your eyes when listening to your music,while doing that see if you can depict a performance by the artst/group in front of you
Bingo.
post #14 of 32
I turn the lights down, poor a glass of whisky, turn on some great music, then close my eyes and lean back.
Full focus on the music (ok, some on the whisky as well.. ).
post #15 of 32
The best way I've found to improve listening skills over many years is to go out and listen to more live music. The more intimately you know what it should sound like, the better your "listening skills" will be. This assumes that the idea of "fidelity" means anything at all to you (and it may not). BTW, your rig, whether it be headphones or speakers will never actually sound just like live music, but you will start to learn those things that make the illusion more effective. From there the head-fi / audiophile thing then becomes highly subjective, as you will realize reading virtually any thread here or on any audio forum. You need to determine which qualities are actually important to YOU. I've been comparing two headphones lately. One occurs to me to be entirely about tone, and richness of midrange, while the other one is all about finesse, soundstage, and rendering detail....at least that's how the two occur to me. Which of those you might choose as your preference may be different than what I'd choose. What other people prefer, and what other people think of your own preferences, mean less than nothing in my book. Going by such guidance is like having someone tell you what food you should like best. Sure you'll get some great suggestions, as well as some that will leave you baffled. So I'd agree with those here who might be implying to take what you read and what others say, with more than just a grain of salt. You can certainly get some broad generalizations from people as to what things may sound like and how they may differ, but ultimately what that means when the music is coming through your system into your ears is really entirely up to you. You'll also get a better sense of what is possible simply by listening to more different systems. Have fun! Enjoy the music. Use The Force, Luke.
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