Sometimes the road beckons. When I heard the call this time it wasn't nearly as easy to just get-up and go. I'm not twenty anymore! I'm middle-aged, burly, married, and like most of you I have responsibilities to attend to in my every-day. Thankfully, because of what I do for a living: Writing and evangelizing about music and great sound - coupled with the fact that we live in the 21st century, I can do that from anywhere with an internet connection (or not, utilizing the "off-line" mode in TIDAL or Spotify). The coolest thing is: I have access to so much music almost everywhere I go! At long as I got LTE via AT&T, my iPhone 6 is a mobile hotspot. Now, given that I've only taken advantage of this feature a few times, I wanted to put it to the test. Now, I brought two hard-drives full of music with me (about 2 terabytes) but I wanted to see just how far, and how often I could rely on streaming music while on this sort-of vision quest. After all, I could've forgotten those hard-drives. OCD has its limited advantages...
My main source for streaming music has been TIDAL. As a matter of fact, I'm streaming Recondites On Acid LP as I type these words, using my MacBook Pro Retina SSD, TIDALs web-player and Amarra sQ: A fantastic program that allows me to EQ the TIDAL feed to suit my mood and specific set of cans. Right now I'm using:
My Locus Design Nucleus USB cable
CEntrance HiFi-M8 Amp/DAC
MIT Cables VERO Prototype headphone cable
Audeze LCD-2 planar-magnetic headphones
SubPac S2 Solo Sub
Straight-up: I can't believe the insane fidelity I'm experiencing while sitting comfortably at my friends B&B in the mountains of northern Arizona. I feel like I took a 100K high-end stereo system with me in my Mini, and I haven't even plugged those hard-drives in yet! I've been listening to music exclusively through TIDAL for the last three days whenever I'm stationary, and in the car I've been using Spotify Premium (as the connection can get a lil' hinky sometimes when driving). This may not sound like a break-through to some of you, but, for me, even though I use these tools often, I'm still blown-away at the quality of my music playback while on the road. On top of all that - none of my neighbors at this b&b can hear me, even when I rock my open-back cans. The present-day is a magical time for us music addicts. Road-tripping will never be the same.
So, there are other reasons for this journey, but maybe I'll get into that in a future post, or maybe not. Right now I'm focused on experiencing new things with dear friends whom I haven't connected with in a long time, and making sure I make time to write as this journey unfolds. I'll be reporting from the road as often as I can, so please be sure to check back in with OccupyHifi, and help spread the word! Occupy was given its own space so I could say what I want without getting ANYBODY in trouble, whether that be my editors at the other audio sites I write for, business partners, peers, whomever. I needed a spot so I could spit what's on my mind without hesitation. This journey is part of that.
So wish me luck! Later today I'll be hiking in the mountains of northern Arizona with my current favorite portable rig - and I'll be writing about that for Steven Rochlins Enjoythemusic.com. I'm also working on my first Occupy Hifi column for Positive Feedback! After all, my dear friends and editors there: Dr. David William Robinson, Dave and Carol Clark gave me the initial freedom I needed to speak my truth without fear of any consequence, and for that I bow in respect for them. However, in order honor them and Steven Rochlin (who's also been a ROCK for me) I need to keep pushing forward - and that means dedicate myself to the work.
I sincerely hope you're happy with the ride thus far. To be continued...