Opus 3

Bad news first: ‘Into Winter‘ got rejected from the Short Sounds Film Festival. Eh, I knew it was coming, although I’d still held onto a sliver of hope that I’d get accepted as one of the 15 runners-up. (I’m not audacious enough to aim for the grand prize.) I wonder how far I was from being included in the top 15? I hope it was close.

Onto the next topic: gear doesn’t matter. Talent does. That’s what everyone thinks until they get a taste of gear that is really, really good.

A few days ago, I made the mistake of visiting the Lotte Shopping Mall at Jamsil station. There, I found a shop stocked with dozens of earphones and headphones available to try out. Of course, I had to listen to them, and after some unremarkable minutes spent with headphones in the $100-$200 range, I decided to try some headphones priced at roughly $600 – and was stunned.

I had no idea that the music I owned sounded like that. I always buy in 320 kbps whenever possible, but I never understood why people thought there was an audible difference between it and 192 kbps. I also didn’t understand why some people insisted on FLAC. I thought that they were snobs or that I had rubbish ears.

Now, I’ve realised that my perceptions of file quality were coloured by the listening devices that I own.  For that matter, I think my perceptions of the music I own were coloured by the listening devices that I own.

I desperately want those $600 headphones. If I don’t get them, the sound of them will haunt me until the day I die. It’s as though I rediscovered all of my music on that day. I foolishly forgot to take ‘Into Winter’ with me to Jamsil station; I can’t wait to listen to my music on those headphones.

2 thoughts on “Opus 3

  1. I have a friend who got a pair of 600 dollar headphones and said the difference was night and day but unless I somehow make a ton of money I don’t plan to buy anything that extravagant. Would be nice to upgrade gear though, I know the feeling. I notice a a difference between different file formats on the stuff I have though, I wonder why that is. Wav all the way!

    I see a lot of people say “If only I had ___ equipment the difference it would make…” So I think that’s more where the gear vs skill debate comes in. If you’re a newbie at all the audio stuff and decide to go buy a 5000 dollar microphone and still mix poorly, then the mic is going to sound like a 100 dollar one regardless. The YouTube channel Recording Revolution does a good job at showing you how to start where you are with their tutorials, but doesn’t say not to ever upgrade your gear if you eventually want to. But my soap box moment is over XD I’m just a firm believer in working with what you have because longing for all of the gear you can buy to “upgrade your setup” doesn’t do anything if you can’t use it properly.

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    • I don’t think getting the $600 headphones would make any difference to my composing. Even if it did, the difference would be minute. I agree with you on that point. And I’ll be the first one to agree with anyone who tells me that I lack composing skills. Just look at how I got rejected by the Short Sounds Film Festival!

      I just want them because of how happy I felt when I was listening to them. I think I’m always going to listen more than I compose; that’s certainly how my life is at the moment. Listening to orchestral – in particular, classical – music on those headphones was an incredible experience. Classical music has never been so good – I swear I could hear every instrument. I just can’t go back to my cheap headphones after that. But I’m in a bit of a tight spot financially, so I suppose my current gear will have to do for the moment.

      I’d recommend that you find a shop that lets you listen to hi-fi headphones and try them, too, but I’m scared that you’ll end up as obsessed as I am. If you’re not rich, it might be a better idea to stay away from them.

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