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December 16, 2010

Teach Your Kids A Life Lesson This Holiday Season: Three Simple Steps to The Head of the (Audiophile) Class

Filed under: Audio Knowledge,AV question — Tags: , , — Alan @ 3:14 pm

If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember him: the guy with the dorm room all tricked out with the latest hi-fi system: a vinyl collection to rival a radio station, enormous wooden speakers with brown grilles, and of course, the massive record player, possibly even hanging from the ceiling on chains to avoid any needle-jumping when the party really got started.

Today’s generation of MP3-based music users don’t have that experience. Somehow, docking their highly-compressed music in a $29.99 all-in-one player doesn’t give the same feel of something mystical and magical happening. The music coming out of those players is frequently distorted and almost always altered in unmusical ways.

If that describes how your children listen to music, why not take advantage of the holiday giving season to initiate them into the wonderful world of hi-fi?

No longer the exclusive domain of the guy on campus with the endless record budget, hi-fi music is now accessible at the click of a mouse for any guys or girls interested in looking. From downloading lossless versions of songs to reproducing the music on high quality loudspeakers, it’s just a few short steps from low-end music for the masses to standing head and shoulders above the crowd with a superior system.

So how do you teach your children the ways of hi-fi? In brief, here are the three lessons you need to teach your kids to help them graduate from music novices to audiophiles-in-the-making:

  1. Ditch the earbuds! Upgrade to a good pair of headphones that reproduce the full spectrum of music. There are several high-end brands available: look to Etymotic Research, Shure, or even Koss’ The Plug which is conveniently priced at stocking-stuffer rates.
  2. Choose quality over quantity. Sure, your friend has 4,000 tunes on his top-of-the-line MP3 player, but most of them are of such low quality that the minute he turns up the volume the music distorts. Instead, choose the highest resolution you can for your files and resist the urge to play the numbers game.
  3. Drop the dock. Few if any sound docks can replicate the experience of listening to your favorite music through good speakers: the speakers are too close together to achieve any stereo effect. When you upgrade to a stereo or home theater receiver with USB connection for your MP3 player, you can use top-of-the-line speakers to reveal nuances in music you’ve been listening to for years.  For under $600 you can buy a nice stereo receiver and pair of M3 high end hi fi speakers and bring hi-fi to the MP3 generation.

That’s it! Three simple steps to make your child the new music authority at college this year. If you’re looking for a great system to help them make the leap, check out There you’ll find everything from top-of-the-line computer speakers to full-blown audiophile home theater systems, and lots of friendly advice to help you navigate the change from ho-hum to hi-fi.

Alan Lofft was, for 13 years, Editor in Chief of Sound & Vision, Canada’s largest and most respected audio/video magazine. He edited Sound & Vision (Canada) until 1996, when he moved from Toronto to New York to become Senior Editor at Audio magazine.
Lofft has been writing about hi-fi and video professionally for over 20 years, ever since his first syndicated newspaper column, “Sound Advice”, began appearing weekly in The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest-circulation daily newspaper. In the late 1970s, he became a contributing editor, columnist, and equipment reviewer at AudioScene Canada, the leading national consumer electronics magazine at the time. Find out more about Alan in his bio.

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