The old saw says that we have two ears and one mouth so we can do more listening than speaking. That’s all well and good, and probably fairly decent advice, but a music lover knows the real reason we have two ears: stereo.
Stereo! What are you from like the 1970s or something?
Well, actually no, stereo is from the 1930s, even though early experiments in stereophonic sound started in the 1880s. But stereo as we know it today is credited to British engineer Alan Blumlein who worked on a system to improve the clunky monophonic sound of movie soundtracks. The simple fact is, sound coming from small space simply does not reproduce the majesty and emotional lift that sound coming from a soundstage does.
Mono is fine if you’re not really paying much attention but when was the last time you went to a musical performance and all of the music came from one spot in the center of the stage? Real music comes from a wide soundstage that includes all of the area on stage, plus the spaces between the audience and the performers (not to mention the rest of the room).
Non-existent sound-stages and speakers that can barely keep up are nothing new – we’ve been doing this to ourselves for years now. It’s time to stop the madness!
When it comes to music we’ve been sold a bill of goods over the past ten years or so. Tech companies want us to think that when it comes to music, convenience is more important than quality (read: on a talking Bluetooth speaker tucked away in your living room somewhere). But the truth is, although music can enrich your life no matter how you listen, music can only soar (and take you with it) when it fills up the space you live in, and the only way you can do that is with stereo. A single speaker just won’t do it. If you haven’t experienced true stereo yet, you are seriously missing out!
You simply can’t get a real – and satisfying – musical experience from a single speaker or a pair of tiny “stereo” speakers in a single box a couple of inches apart from each other. Sound takes time – and therefore space – to develop properly so that when it reaches your (two) ears there is a sense of space and distance that separates the different instruments in a musical passage.
Sure, your little Bluetooth speaker gives decent bass for its size and you can understand the words and all, but for those of you old enough to remember a single speaker on the dashboard of your dad’s Buick pumping out the tinny little jams, that’s pretty much what we’ve all accepted as good enough anymore. And seriously, that sucks. We’ve become satisfied with non-directional, highly-compressed sound coming from a tiny little space. That’s not what real music sounds like!
Real music reaches your two separate ears from separate places in time and space which allows your brain to carry you away to another dimension. Try that with a little Bluetooth speaker on a shelf in your room. It may be unobtrusive but it ain’t going to change your life much.
Give your music a chance to make your life more enjoyable – rediscover stereo and save the mono (read: fake stereo) Bluetooth speakers for background music when you’re not paying attention. Although, once you go back to stereo and you find out what music really has to offer, you’ll be sad you wasted so much time on a musical experience that was “good enough.”
Try to fit all the majesty of the Oregon Symphony into that little personal assistant masquerading as a stereo system. Ain't gonna happen.
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