Sharing your hi-fi – and why women choose the best audio systems

Sharing your hi-fi – and why women choose the best audio systems


I design cables, that’s my job. Am I a geek or a nerd? I don’t think so (feel free to contradict this statement).   What makes this so special for me is that I do really love music and my involvement with hi-fi has always been a means to an end. The end, which I will never reach, is an understanding of how music works. The journey though, has been amazing so far and will continue to be – I certainly can’t see the end in sight yet. I’m actually becoming increasingly convinced that there isn’t going to be one and more importantly perhaps, reaching a real understanding will mean breaking the thing I love so much just to see how it works.


Album art from Jive Time Records

I know a lot of women who love music with as much passion as I do, but there is a difference and this difference is why the majority of women don’t get as obsessed with hi-fi as men do. The women I know who love music have no wish to know how it works, it’s enough that it does. They also have no interest in the hi-fi components as long as they work, and work means that they make music sound better, then that’s fine.

They have no interest in bass, midrange and treble, they have no interest in a system that dissects music and lays the parts out, disconnected and available for examination. Having no interest in hi-fi makes it very easy to work out whether something’s better or not.

In truth I know that the thing I love most about music is the intangible, the emotional response, the feeling that my soul has been nourished, and the peace of mind, the stillness that comes at the end of a piece of music, that sense of witnessing a near magical occurrence for which there are no real words. But I always want more. I have to see how far I can push it. Can I change a cable? Can I design a new cable that gives me more? Can I try this new CD player, or cartridge, or speakers just to see if they get me closer? I might spend days working out why something’s not as good, putting it into words. I might spend far too long thinking about it.


You can expect a carefully considered opinion of your equipment (image from brightwall/darkroom mag)

Meanwhile – a female friend has listened and very quickly said either better or worse –  and she is inevitably right. She isn’t actually concerned with why, just that it is. And if it is? – Good.  And if it isn’t? – What’s the point? And that is the point and it applies to everything to do with hi-fi. She’s not getting tangled up in knots worrying about whether she can hear something or not, she’s not worrying about whether the mid-range is liquid enough or not.

Unless you’re very lucky in having a room of your own in which to indulge your every hi-fi whim (plus the money to do what you like), then a hi-fi system should be a shared experience, something that you and your partner choose together and listen to together. Too many men end up in dem rooms on their own. Speakers – OK, we all know that the stuff you put in front of them is really crucial, but the biggest impact on your living room is always going to be the speakers. Choose them together. I know lots of dealers who have done demonstrations to couples, only to find the (theoretically) uninterested partner has chosen the best speaker. “Why?” “The bigger ones sounded much better.”

Music is very much a shared experience and your partner is a wonderful person to share it with. Just don’t expect them to read the magazines or use the forums and do let them play music they like. I love sharing music with people, that’s what it’s for. So if you get something new, share it. You might just find you get to listen to a lot more music.  Nigel Finn



Technical Advice and general hi-fi tips


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