What to first turn to

When evaluating a new piece of gear—perhaps that new Power Plant, DAC, cable, or speaker—what’s the first track of music you turn to? Is it always the same? Does it vary from type to type of gear?

In my experience we all have a few go-to pieces of music we rely upon to evaluate equipment. It occurs to me that much of what we think of how a product presents itself may in part depend on this go-to piece of music.

For example, I almost always go to an acoustic piece with a vocal. This is a quick and easy way to tell if the voice sounds right or if it’s off base. From there I can branch off to other tracks. But, what if that practice leads me astray from the truth? Perhaps the strength of the new product is in the top end, or the opposite. Maybe its strengths or weakness fall outside the bounds of my first impression piece.

I’ll bet that, for many of us, that first piece of go-to music has a lot of bearing on how we feel towards a particular piece of gear—half full or half empty.

What we first turn to may be more important than we sometimes give credence to.

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