Missing the forest for the trees

Something I've been reflecting about, of late. With time and experience, I've been pulling back trying to connect with and attempting to understand the larger picture.

Perhaps others have their unique stories and universal messages to share.

I request we keep the discussion positive and helpful. Thanks!
No intent regarding nor restriction on interpretation(s). Whatever you have found to be and believe is relevant to you in this hobby and to your personal journey.
I think that many people forget or don’t understand that audio preferences are very subjective. Everyone will have a different opinion about which speaker, amp, source, format, music, etc. is best. Too many people are sure that what they like is the best and will argue at great length with anyone who has a different opinion.

Along the same line, we all hear differently, have different systems, rooms, etc. One person may hear a huge difference between cable A and cable B while another may not. Two people can hold opposing views and both be right as long as they include the qualifier "to me" or "in my system," etc. I guess a lot of people just have more fun arguing, though.


I see your point and do agree with the peaceful purpose of listening to music, and sharing with others what makes it good for you.

Some share with more opinion than others but that's what makes us human. Equally we can ignore what we do not like and enjoy what we do like. I just love music, and I enjoy reading other people's experiences.

I also happen to enjoy (from afar) the jousting that occasions on the forum :)


It’s such a great hobby and so full of personal passion that many hobbyist become tied to their system as if it were alive (like a close friend). I have always been that way and enjoy each encounter like a kid at Christmas, I think most do. I also believe if we can open our minds up to the concept of our "whole" system instead of getting stuck on one part only, we allow ourselves to make a connection to a greater fellowship.

Michael Green


PS: I should probably add this from the point of view from someone who deals with listeners daily, tuning their systems. Most of the time that you see someone getting upset on forums it comes down to one reason "they haven’t done it yet". Assuming something in audio or only living off of theory hardly ever leads to a total successful listening experience. Each step we take only leads us to the next step and that means a lot of times needing to turn back around and head in the opposite direction to find where we lost what we thought we found. It’s hard to back up when money is involved, but truth isn’t found in the money or the components. Truth is found in the music itself.

Music represents beauty to me.  I get to enjoy the beauty when I am listening to my system.  

For those moments when it all comes together and it sounds really good, I find myself noticing after awhile and thinking 'wow.' 

I had one of those moments this past weekend.

It is not coming together this way with the rest of my life, but for that moment, I was not thinking about everything else.    

One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain. That is the larger picture.
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Thank you, @cj1965

I would have replied myself, but out of respect for the OPs request I elected not to. Trust me, I have some choice words. 
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The previous series of posts were removed by the posters themselves, all in good faith. Impressive and appreciated! Thank you very much.

Hi rar1

You said a mouthful. There is nothing like a great listening session or hearing about someone else’s.

Hi cj

Looks like alls good!

Michael Green


I think your title says it all, " Missing the forest for the trees." Myself included, so many of us continue to judge individual components(trees), as opposed to the system(forest). I submit the most fun, challenging and rewarding part of our hobby is to take individual components and combine them into a system that provides musical enjoyment. It's frustrating because with the vast amount of components and combinations available, I'm always curious about how to go to the next level within my financial means. Can I grow to be content with my system?
@rar1 , I hope that whatever it is that isn't coming together for you is only a temporary thing and that you get to enjoy your system much more. Enjoy the music. Tooblue

Recently I have endured a 9 week ordeal with severe ear infection. During this time tubes were placed in both ear drums. As such, For the past 7 weeks, frequencies under about 300hz have been about 20 db down, tinnitus has been so loud I can't sleep. I has been a terrifying experience and has given me pause to look at a much larger forest, that of our amazing stereophonic hearing capabilities. Over this time I have feared never returning to normal hearing and it has been terrifying and heartbreaking at times. Please one and all be grateful for the amazing gift of basic hearing and cherish music over systems and gear always.!!

It’s such a great hobby and so full of personal passion that many hobbyist become tied to their system as if it were alive (like a close friend).
I like that. A lot. I think we can all relate. Having said that, I appreciate the forest for the trees.

And @bensturgeion, I sincerely hope your condition improves. I have a mild case of tinnitus and can only imagine what you're going through.

All the best,
Adjusting one’s priorities seems to come automatically with advancing age---each remaining moment becomes very precious, not to be squandered. So much music, so little time.

Music is an excellent therapy. I feel so sorry for those who cannot hear and enjoy it. I have had numerous operations resulting in metal in all limbs and back over 20 years. I now have cancer. All the way through, even in hospital, I have always taken my music and headphones. Just close my eyes and let the music take me away.

Or when I want it to pick me up, play something with a bit of thump (going back to 60's, 70's and 80's or certain legacy players latest, and I am alive and constructive.

Music is an expression of emotion. I love the pursuit of the components that will play music as good as I can afford.

Michael Green and others have stated points that are all so true. Listening to music and enjoying the experience that is true to oneself is the optimal end. There is no shame in making a sound system the best it can be. Upgrading equipment, tweaking, and other things can make the experience all the more rewarding. Continuous improvement is not a bad thing.
Example.....a friend had an Acura car. He was constantly adding performance parts and tweaks to the car to get the ultimate performance. In truth, he would have had the same performance in the end if he had just bought one model up in the Acura line. But, initially, he didn't have the funds to do that. That holds true for audio enthusiasts.
If I had the funds to explore audio equipment to the very end I probably would. Buying a Basis turntable for 1/4 Million dollars would probably be a little over the top.
Many years ago I thought the 8 track player in my car with 4 speakers (subs were not even thought of then) was the best system I'd ever heard. One night at a friendly poker game at some guy's place he fired up his stereo. The amp was a Dynaco he had built from a kit and the small bookshelf speakers weren't anything special (I believe the were Advents). The sound that came out of his meager setup blew me away. Mostly because he was playing music everyone loved during that time.
So, in the end it's all about the music we listen to. Sure, we all want it to sound as good as possible. But, in the end, it's all about the music.
Thanks to all for posting and sharing. 

@rar1  Rich, I hope your music continues to offer a 'beautiful' escape and that things sort themselves out. 

@bensturgeon It's been a week since you posted. Updates?  I hope you are doing better and the issues are getting resolved.

@amg56 Beautiful and powerful point about music as therapy and how it has helped you through what you have faced and continue to.
Here's a thoughtful / thought provoking 'essay'.... from Srajan Ebaen / Darko Audio

....I wish the 'title' was phrased differently...it' about ears (I think)....


I agree with you that we need to see forest rather than trees.

Musical sound is more important than just part of sound like detail, dynamics or soundstage.

But with all the tweaks, blue fuse, blue cable, E-card and small bells, my system sound organic and detailed not overly etched.

I am happy with all the tweaks that I had done for the last 2 weeks.

Now I will just try to enjoy music from classical, Jazz, New age even Rock music.

I listen to all kinds of music  depending on my mood.
@shkong78  Since you are listening to "all kinds of music" do you have any additional thoughts to share in terms of optimizing a system to meet your needs across a wide spectrum of music? 

Frankly speaking it is not easy to find all round player to play all kind of music.

B&W 801 driven by Jadis 500(350 tube Watt) gave me the most deep and powerful bass.

Full range speaker driven by 300B SET amplifier gave me the most round mid range sound with good timber.

I had been using Lansche 4.1 for 11 years so far and I may use it until it stops working(it is an active speaker).

It is slightly behind B&W801 in terms of dynamics and slight notch behind full range in roundness of mid range.

But it is kind of all round player with two 10 inch driver with internal active amplifier and high efficiency (spec 99db/w, but my guess is around 94 db/w from the experience of 99db/w full range).

You have to compromise between several factors.

Lansche 4.1 has very pristine treble due to its plasma tweeter.

Thus it is very difficult to find another speaker that suit my taste.

I am happy with Lansche 4.1 in my spacious listening space with high vault.

You have to find one which suit your taste compromising some factor.

But I know the tweaks in power supply do play important factors,

Power conditioner ( I had been happily using Spiritual Audio VX9 for 5 years), power cables, high end fuse and something like Perfect Path Technology matt and e-cards help to tame the sound.

There is no perfect speaker in the world.

Perfect speaker would be the size of a concert hall to be able to reproduce the sound of a full orchestra. And can you imagine amps to drive them ? And the size of your listening room.
Western Electric system used in theaters in early 1900’s are too big to use in ordinary house but very efficient 110db/w and be driven by 20 Wattts amplifiers to get enough sound for the whole theater.

One of my billionaire friend have several Western Electric system.

Every time I hear his system, I got amazed to death.

But I can not afford it.

I am just happy with my current system based upon Lansche 4.1 while doing small improvement from time to time.
A great sounding system playing a great recording actually will reproduce the sound of a concert hall with amazing detail...ambient crowd sounds, reverberant hall sound...it's all there...compare a studio orchestral recording to a live concert hall version...you can easily hear the difference.
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Thoughtful Essay: 'Objectivity and the Abstract Truth' by Allan Moulton // The Absolute Sound

Here is a snippet...

"The scientific method is a purposeful and sometimes necessary disentanglement of equipment and sounds from listening’s full context. But at the end of the day, a double-blind test or full set of measurements reveals a lesser form of the truth, not a greater one. The truth or essence of the equipment we listen to is not contained in them or in the capabilities they have or in the opinions we hold. Like it or not, the full truth is that we’re entangled in complex and wonderful ways with our world."