Why hi-fi is the best hobby in the world

Pass X150-8

I’m a bit (actually quite) grumpy as I plop down on the couch in the listening room with a cup of coffee for a moment. “Pfff…. bullshit”. Not all days are rosy at Alpha. Shit happens… There’s a new test candidate under the Pass pre-amp: a Pass Labs X150.8. Three days old. so not yet fully burned in. “I just want to play something very loud for a while…”. Faithless Sunday 8PM goes into the Denon DCD 110 CD player. Track 5… boom… yep… there’s that smile again!

The right hand grabs the remote control of the Pass XP-12 preamplifier…. a few more taps on the up arrow… a few more… Ow yeah: the sweet spot is found. Dartzeel had the best name ever for the volume control: Pleasure Control. Right… that’s it! My mood is slowly but surely improving. And no: that’s not just the coffee.

Why hifi is beautiful

The power of music is that it brings an instant emotional response. It can deeply move, bring happiness, bring back memories…. and, in my case: push away the grumpy mood.

This is an unprecedented power. A power that can essentially save humanity from destruction. Something to think about!

So why is your author talking about Hi-Fi? Well… that’s twofold. Let’s start with a great one we had heard during an interview with Mr. Low from Audioquest. Music can always move a soul…. on any system. But on a high-end system it just takes you there faster. And yes: that is also our experience.

Journey of discovery

The journey of discovery also seems endless. Because what the new test candidate has shown me again, is that there are always new limits to be broken. When you think: can it be even more beautiful? Can it be even better? then it’s great to discover again that there are still limits to be broken.

The trusty Bryston 4B is beautiful. But with the new Sonnet Audio Pasithea in the set, it simply proved to be a brake in terms of resolution. The Pass Labs X150.8 proved that beyond doubt. And yes: that just brings a smile. Indeed, what happens now is that the entire music collection is being rediscovered. Cliché? Yes… a big fat cliché. Disgusting to use (just like “musical” or “analog sounding”) but just true.

When we play Faithless – a CD your author bought on its release in 1998! – we hear really new things. You read that right: a CD we’ve had in our collection for 24 years…. Extra voices far in the background, much more structure and a richer definition in the bass… it’s just insane to experience after more than 25 years in the hobby and 20 years of hi-fi journalism.

Stuck on the couch

I have to write a message to my wife:

“Sorry… this is addictively good. I’ll really get to it soon”. Photo attached and one more track…. forward.

You can guess that one track ended up being the entire album. What a wonderful hobby this is!

(Article was somewhat spontaneous, so the pictures were just pulled from the Alpha App and thus taken with the phone)

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