An Exercise Regime for 2018

I recently moved into a new home we purchased, and this holiday season our house is festooned not with garlands and boughs, but with boxes, moving blankets and furniture in a random location. It will take until summer for me to make some sense of my new listening room, which happens to also be our living room, but one feature of our new abode was unexpected and is quite welcome.

It’s a small thing, but next to the toilet is a magazine rack. It allows us to catch up on new magazines and catalogs as we sit on “The Throne,” and helps me stay up to date on audio, engineering and hobbies. My job requires that I read pro audio magazines, including Mix, Tape Op, Pro Sound News, the SMPTE Journal and audioXpress. My avocation compels me to read Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, and hi–fi catalogs to stay in touch with what’s desirable in the world of audiophilia. I don’t always agree with what’s presented, but I always learn something I didn’t already know.

Like a shark, I must keep moving. I also must keep learning, both out of curiosity and a need to know more. Nasreddin Hodja, a 13th Century Seljuq Sufi, was familiar with the trap of relying on book learning and staring too long at cat videos instead of living in the moment. His take on the value of testing the world around you rather than counting on conjecture and hearsay was succinct, “Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.” As any high schooler knows, you have to poke at the envelope to better discern its boundaries.

Too often these days, we fall into over reliance on our machines to tell us what to do. For matters strictly objective, that’s a good thing. That said, audio is certainly not strictly objective, no matter how hard we try and fit that big round subject into a square little box. In 2018, I urge you to learn something new every day for you work or play; to question your assumptions, and to test your theories rather than assuming you are always right. Stasis is death, and both me and my work/hobby of all things audio must evolve to encompass new tastes, trends and technology or perish on the Great Heap of Laughable Tech where lazy and smug companies go to die.

As Marcel Proust once said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Seek out and value the opinions of those who disagree with you. Take a chance once in a while. You may be pleasantly disturbed to find your viewpoint shifting in a new or novel direction!

Happy Holidays and, keep on listening!

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