Mohammed was asking the same questions a lot of people ask when it comes to listening to music.
“Why are they listening to records? Why not MP3s? Why are they spending all this money? I don’t understand.”
The homeowner talks about two older gentlemen he used to know who were obsessed with music and music quality, when Mohammed was settling for playing MP3 files during their emergence in the 1990s. He has since answered his questions, and documented how he (and subsequently his family) has gone “from MP3s to Alexias” in a great YouTube video (see below) recently put forth by acclaimed Utah-based loudspeaker manufacturer Wilson Audio.
In the video, “An Audiophile’s Journey,” Mohammed shares his experience of basically becoming an audiophile and how he came to appreciate higher-quality music. Along the way, he was surprised to find that his wife and young children have also become huge music fans who now spend their nights spinning vinyl and listening to a pair of orange Wilson Alexias in their living room.
His original skepticism of so-called audiophiles came as he heard the older gentlemen constantly talk about listening to music on their Wilson WATT/Puppy 5 systems playing vinyl on Rega Planar 3, and he just didn’t grasp their passion.
Around 2000, Mohammed says he made his first considerable investment, with an active digital theater system that he enjoyed more from a tweakable software standpoint than the music itself. The turning point came several years later, when he walked into Bellevue, Wash.-based custom electronics pro Definitive Audio‘s shop and found himself with a jaw-dropping experience in the reference audio room.
“I remember vividly ... I can feel the emotion of the music being transferred to me, you start to feel some goosebumps,” he recalls of the system, which at the time featured Wilson WATT/Puppy 7s in desert silver finish. “It was almost like a spiritual event for me.”
It’s a reaction Definitive’s Gary Bruestle has likely heard echoed countless times as an A/V pro. He even had it himself, as he shares in the video: “The first few times especially, you have that experience and really get the emotional connection to the music – I still remember in the late ‘80s having that for first time and it sticks with you forever.”
A CE pro like Definitive can also make the difference when it comes to finding step-up audio products, as well as hearing the difference for the first time in such demo rooms with content that they’ve selected for good reasons.
In this case, Definitive installed a set of Wilson Sophias in Mohammed’s living room (which he recently upgraded to the Alexias), where reluctance from his wife soon turned into another audiophile conversion. She went from not wanting some big speakers in the home’s main living space, to saying that when they made the change to the Alexias that “it didn’t take more than two or three beats for me to recognize that there was not only a gradual delta of change in sound quality, but it was truly amazing ... and my 6-year-old daughter could tell the difference. ‘Mommy, it sounds more real.’”
Music has the power to move people—including moving them to invest in systems and listening rooms that can take them to a deeper level of emotion and appreciation. As Wilson Audio shows, it’s OK to admit that you listen to MP3s, too, only perhaps now you want a higher-quality experience. Do you have a story of audiophile conversion to share?
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com and Electronic House magazine.
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