Let’s talk: Audiophile

When I was young my family moved to Saudi Arabia for a few years as part of the Gulf War. The travelling between British climates and the Middle Eastern with the pressure changes “scared” my ear drums (as far as I understand). This has affected my hearing and sensitivity to pressure and sounds, a few sounds hurt my ears even though the sound itself is pretty inoffensive.

Like a lot of people, I enjoy music with a wide variety of genres and artists. However my issue has been the ability to listen to the music comfortably, this journey of understanding has taken me 20 years to figure out (honestly I have suffered with it).

Headphones and Speakers

This has been my main way of listening to music in my bedroom as a teen and as an adult in work and chilling in the house.

I had started listening to music on the cheap headphones that came free with the iPod (classic) and with phones. I could never listen to the sound too long before my ears started hurting. I thought that was natural.
When I got my own computer when I was 16 I listened to music on the £10 speakers from Argos… no quality! The tinny and blended sounds did little better than the headphones.

It wasn’t until I want to my friends house to see his sound system, something that cost hundreds, that I realised that the problem wasn’t with my ears, but the system I was using.
He sold me an old amp and Bowers & Wilkins speakers. I had bought cheaper headphones to listen through in the evenings/nights.
My life had been changed, even if I could not appreciate music as much as I do now.

A few years later I ended up selling the system due to money problems (a sad day) and my living situation didn’t allow for much use. I do regret the decision now.

I went back to the cheap free headphones that came with my iPod at the time. This became Beats Studios wireless headphone and Beats earphone (for when I was in work and walking). The sound was an upgrade even if it was bass heavy.

After that I got the AirPods and now AirPods Pro, an upgrade each time.
The improvement has been noticeable each time, even the time I could spend listening to music each time had improved. These days I can spend the day with earphones in without issue.

The Future Plan

Despite AirPods Pro not being able to take full advantage of the lossless format no offered with Apple, there is subtle improvements to clarity. At least enough for me to notice. This has sparked a drive to find out (again) what true lossless sound is.

I am not planning on spending hundreds to start, but a modest £200-300. This is enough to get a decent headphone and a DAC Amp to connect to my phone.

I know I have a lot to learn from this and it will likely be something that develops over time. I would love to receive any tips and advice you can offer on the way please.


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