A SoundBsessive Manifesto


“We appreciate you for your disease, Tony”

In the course of the last 12 years, I have been trying pretty much all the headphones in existence, owning most of them, reviewing many, writing impressions. I also had experience in tuning certain orthodynamics, and, at some point, I started cultivating a strong passion towards digital reproduction, especially concerning what makes tonality right, how music relates with my psyche, and what makes me resonate.
I have been interested in the topic of “neutrality”, both as playback of a recording (how to make the reproduction ‘true’ to the recording), and, perhaps more importantly, “neutrality towards the listener”. The “Hall of Mirrors” mentioned in the website logo springs from the idea that most involving music playback, for us, interacts with the projection of ourselves. It’s also the title of a hypnotic song written by Kraftwerk.

Due to interactions with many interesting personalities in the audio world (ranging from Moray James, cable manufacturer from Canada, to John Wright, holder of Museatex, to Kevin Gilmore, Pat Di Giacomo, Romy The Cat and several others), I started to build up more and more knowledge, refining my tastes and expectations.
I learnt the pleasure of investigating the obscure science of cables, in order to understand how they can condition the sound so much, and what qualities can be considered desirable.
One of my favourite questions, when evaluating a cable maker, is: “is he only sticking together expensive wire and connectors, pretending they must sound good, or does he have an actual goal in mind?”
The “Goal” is what makes the difference between something worthy of being purchased, and something expensive but pointless.

This website sees its main goal in integrating all these experiences, both personal and shared among several audiophile fellows.
The articles can undergo further integration and updates in the future, whenever possible.
I will be reviewing the equipment in which I am most interested, with a particular attention towards hottest topics, like Digital-to-digital converters, and DAC’s.
My own sound bias will be stated (mostly resulting in liking forward midrange, with tight bass and non-obsessive, non sibilant treble), but it won’t take away from the objective description how the item under review sounds.
There will be essays about software and digital processing, since even using a pc player like Foobar2000 would make a difference against a different product (JPlay, for example). I’ll be writing about these topics, as soon as I will have enough valuable information, rather than generic ideas.
I am also strongly interested in Android audio development, being it USB OTG (usb host to output the digital signal to the usb input of an external DAC); I am a fan of Voodoo kernel mods, which have been made for certain Android devices. There are also interesting minimalistic pc players like MQn; the goal of many of these is to interact with the CPU, operating system services, ram, and all these properties make a difference in sound quality that is mostly related to timing, density of tone and details, bass tightness.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll enjoy this project.

Tony  __  tony[ at] soundbsessive [dot ] com
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The following is a short reference for my musical preferences:

Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Tim Buckley, Robert Wyatt, Gong, Faust, Can, Amon Duul II, Neu, Uludag, Red Crayola, The Velvet Underground, The United States of America, Jefferson Airplane, The Moody Blues, Silver Apples, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, Public Image Ltd, Traffic, Royal Trux, Television, Pere Ubu, Talking Heads, John Cale, Lou Reed, Nico, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder, Van Morrison, John Fahey, Leonard Cohen, Cat Stevens, Roy Harper, Yes, Area, Van Der Graaf Generator, Henry Cow, Art Bears, This Heat, Camberwell Now, Thinking Plague, Sonic Youth, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Cocteau Twins, Buggles, Jimi Hendrix, Pixies, Husker Du, Violent Femmes, Foetus, Mr. Bungle, Phish, Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Lydia Lunch, Franco Battiato, Mercury Rev, Red House Painters, Lycia, Morphine, Solex, Peter Gabriel, Steven Ridgway, XTC

Charles Mingus, Carla Bley, Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Miles Davis, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk, David Holland, Dexter Gordon, Eric Dolphy, Alice Coltrane, Art Blakey, Paroah Sanders, Zu, Paolo Conte, Kamasi Washington

Shostakovic, Mahler, Beethoven, Lutoslavski

Penderecki, Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis

Louis Andriessen, Moondog, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Steve Roach, Penguin Cafè Orchestra, Diamanda Galas, Arvo Part, Philip Glass, Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatman, Bang On A Can

Shpongle, Ott, Hallucinogen, Younger Brother, Juno Reactor, Shulman, Amethystium