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Room 323: Behind the Music

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Also read Capital Audio Fest 2018: Room 323 – In Through the Out Door

At this point, my Capital Audio Fest Room 323 piece has gained a certain degree of notoriety, making it simultaneously famous and infamous. For the purposes of this interview and the privacy of the interviewees: the 14-year-old daughter, SV, and the father they will heretofore be referred to by their initials and the first letter of their respective names.

There was more I wanted to know from the father and daughter duo, but the show was neither the place nor the time so to do. I posed hem questions via email, and it has appeared to work.

What follows are Q&A sessions with the daughter:

DB (David Blumenstein): S, when did you first start critically listening to music? How did you get started? Was there someone in your life?

SV : I didn’t start critically listening to music until middle school probably around 6th grade. I think having people bring their amps and speakers over to our house to showcase them was where I started to observe how others analyzed the equipment and I slowly learned from there. Music has always been a huge part of my life and it wasn’t until then that I really started to enjoy listening to music on a HiFi system and I give a lot of the credit to my dad for introducing it to me.


DB: What music are you listening to now? What were you listening to then? How have your musical tastes evolved? Did your time spent in your school’s jazz band playing the tenor saxophone affect your musical choices in any way?

SV: I listen to a very wide range of genres. Depending on my mood I’ll go for Jazz or RnB sometimes it’s Pop music or Rap, but I like to change things up and find new songs. I’ve become a lot more open when it comes to music then when I was in 6th grade. I always want to hear something not everyone is listening to. Currently, I’ve had Body Talks by The Struts on repeat along with Jaden Smith’s newest rap album. I’d say playing an instrument for so many years has affected my musical taste because it taught me to love jazz, its one of my favorite genres, and I enjoy listening to standards whether that be Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald. I owe a lot of that musical influence to my band teachers who have taught me and introduced me to great music.


DB: Where do you do most of your critical listening? Do you have your own system? Do you listen to your family’s Hi-Fi? Do you listen on your own? or with your parents? Perhaps a mix of both?

SV: To be honest I rarely get time during the week to critically listen to music on a HiFi system. Most of my music finding and listening is on my phone, I just plug in headphones and I’m good to go. My family and I have shared playlist where we add and share songs so we can switch up what we’re listening to. However, when I am home long enough to listen to a good quality system, I have one that my dad and I will listen to.


DB: Was Capital Audio Fest 2018 the first HiFi show you have attended? How did you find it? How did it affect you? What was your experience visiting the exhibitor rooms? What was the nature of the interaction between you and them?

SV: CAF 2018 was my first ever audio show and I had an overall amazing experience. Walking from room to room I found some that I was comfortable being in and some that I felt a bit out of place in, only because of my age puts a lot of doubt in people’s minds and that causes a lot hesitancy when interacting with me. I don’t mind it, I understand how it looks and I still attempt to strike up a conversation. I found a lot of rooms with great systems that I was able to play my music on and I met so many nice people who gave me that opportunity to share what I had. Among those rooms were VPI (Mat), VPI/Pure Audio Project (Ze’ev, Rachel), Daedalus/Lampizator (the big room, with Fred, Rob, Lou. and A) and room 323 with Accusound cables’ Bill Benoit and Rogers High Fidelity’s Rob Pleyer. I also got a chance to speak with David Solomon from Qobuz who was so welcoming and we had a great conversation about music and I was so grateful to have a chance to give my opinions. A big thank you to everyone I got a chance to talk to you really made CAF a fun time for me!


DB: What did you like about the show? What didn’t you like? Assuming there was enough to like to come back next year, would you bring a friend? Would this be something your friends would enjoy? What would you like to see change, if anything, to make it more enjoyable? To make it more appropriate for your friends and peers?

SV: I would love to come back next year and hopefully I’ll see more streaming on Qobuz or Tidal. It started to become a hassle to share my music because I didn’t know what rooms were using CD, vinyl or computers to play the music. All I had were playlists that I picked songs from to suggest to vendors. I don’t think this is something my immediate friends would be interested in only because the variety of music wasn’t as broad as I think they’d like it to be, I love the song Sidewinder by Lee Morgan, but I shouldn’t hear it six times on the same floor. However, I do think kids who are involved in band programs or other musical programs would be interested in it and find it to be fun and something different. A better way to reel people into the industry is to focus on the music, the equipment should speak for itself with good music playing through them. The experience was something I enjoyed, but I think the community has to figure out a better way to reach out to the younger generation, whether it be with music choices or just making it more affordable for people to even think of buying. Even recent college graduates can’t afford a $20,000 piece of equipment, so kids my age wouldn’t know how to act with that price tag on it.


And the Father

DB: At what age did you introduce S to music? Apart from playing an instrument when did she develop a taste for HI-Fi?

DV: We always have music playing in the house, so both kids were exposed to music from a young age. I would say S has developed a wider genre of musical taste over the years as she is exposed to the additional music style. We (the family) have a running collaborative playlist on Spotify, where everyone adds their newly discovered music for other members to enjoy and some of the addition by the kids have really surprised me, and I have really enjoyed their music better than me sticking to the same genres. I would call us more of musicophiles than audiophiles/HiFi enthusiasts :).


DB: Are any in your circle of friends audiophiles as well? Do they too have children who share in the hobby, the passion?

DV: There are some audiophiles within my circle of friends, but I am not aware of their children involved in the hobby/passion.


DB: Has S intimated to you that she enjoyed herself at Capitol Audio Fest 2018? Does she want to go next year? Are you preparing her for what could become a rather expensive lifelong hobby?

DV: She did enjoy attending CAF and she had a positive experience attending. She did indicate that she would like to attend again depending on her other activities and school timing perspective. As for preparing her for the expensive hobby, what both I and my better half are teaching the kids is to live within your means by making decisions based on want v/s need.


As mentioned in the original I never know what to fully expect from an exhibitor’s room at a show. Things happen for the darnedest reason that nobody can presage. All I can say is that I consider myself fortunate for making Room 323 my habitual pit-stop at CAF and for that alone:  props to the room’s pit-crew.

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One Response to Room 323: Behind the Music

  1. I love this article and very much enjoyed meeting this young lady walking around and enjoying the great systems and music. I’d love to see more family’s attend the hi if shows. Dad introduced music and good sound early on and it stuck. How could it not? Well done.

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